Key Points:

  • Two units to be set up within DPMC to tackle child poverty
  • $25.7m to improve statistics around income and living standards

The Government has set up two units within the Prime Minister's Department to tackle child poverty.

Budget 2018 also gives Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children a total of $269.9 million over four years to expand its services.

The Child Poverty Unit, which will receive $7.9m over four years, will advise on policies that affect poverty among children and coordinate the Government's work to reduce poverty and material hardship.

Advertisement
"This Coalition Government is committed to genuinely tackling child poverty," Jacinda Ardern said today. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Child Wellbeing Unit, to be funded by Oranga Tamariki, will develop government strategy to improve child wellbeing. It will seek public views on policy priorities for the strategy later this year.

"This Coalition Government is committed to genuinely tackling child poverty so that New Zealand becomes the best place in the world to be a child," said Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern.

"My Child Poverty Reduction Bill requires governments to set their own unique targets to reduce child poverty and hardship rates over a 10-year period. This ensures constant progress towards improving life for children.

"It also requires the Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to promote the wellbeing of all children and report on disparities in education, health and other outcomes for children in poverty and at socioeconomic disadvantage," Ardern said.

Budget 2018 provides $25.7m of new operating funding over four years for Statistics NZ to increase the sample size of the Household Economic Survey (HES) to 20,000 households, up from 3500-5000 previously.

"That will improve the accuracy of current measures of poverty and allow regional and ethnic breakdowns. Larger sample sizes will give us a more robust and reliable picture of the incomes and living standards of smaller population groups, such as Māori and Pasifika families," Statistics Minister James Shaw said.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. Photo / Stephen Parker
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. Photo / Stephen Parker

The Oranga Tamariki funding includes $141.6m over four years to pay for more placements for children, pay increases for social workers and upgrades to technology such as IT.

Children on the Orphan's Benefit or Unsupported Child's Benefit will get access to a clothing allowance that was previously limited to children in foster care. That will cost $105m over four years.

Advertisement

"Carers, such as grandparents, have had to cover too much of the extra costs associated with raising children," Children's Minister Tracey Martin said.

The new allowance of up to $1500 a year, comes into effect on July 1 this year.
"This Government has committed to putting the wellbeing of children at the heart of what we do and Budget 2018 represents a significant step forward in this," Martin said.

The Government has already announced an extensive boosts for families in last year's mini-Budget.

Its Families Package included a winter energy payment for eligible people, changes to the accommodation supplement, the Best Start tax credit, changes to the Working Families tax credits and changes to allowances for orphans, unsupported and foster children.

Earlier this month the Government announced Budget funding of an extra $76.1m over four years for more family violence services for victims, perpetrators and their families.