Te Puna Ora o Mataatua welcomes the Governments Child Poverty Reduction Bill and the setting of definitions and measures relating to Child Poverty.
For too long, previous Governments avoided doing this to sidestep taking political responsibility for the state of hardship and deprivation our whānau and communities experience each day.
We have made a number of recommendations for the Government to consider in strengthening the Bill.
Our fundamental recommendation is that the Bill should be amended to including specific Māori targets. As Māori whānau experience distinctive forms of hardship and poverty, the Bill should correspondingly legislate for distinctive Māori targets.
We look forward to presenting our submission to the Select Committee in May 2018.
1. note we support this Bill with amendment;
2. note we welcome the long overdue setting of measures, reporting, targets to address child poverty;
3. note the policy constraints in focusing on the ‘child’ instead of the family; interrelationships and structural dynamics and between the family and local community/clustering and wider society are at risk of being overlooked;
4. note we acknowledge the three new targets set by Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern on 27 March 2018.
5. note the Bill is silent on how targets will be achieved;
6. note the Bill does not make targets legally binding nor prevents them from ongoing (political) amendment;
7. note the Bill does not create any rules, legally enforceable rights, nor will they affect or limit the way a Minister or Chief Executive is required to exercise a statutory power of decision.
8. note the United Kingdom has embraced legally-binding targets;
9. note the Bill does not set specific targets for Māori children in poverty, nor does it attempt to address Māori child poverty issues directly;
10. note the Children’s Commissioner Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty (2012) found that Māori child poverty pose distinctive policy challenges and require distinctive responses;
11. agree the Bill be amended to include specific and pre-emptive Māori child poverty targets;
12. note the Whānau Ora framework can provide a parallel targeted and multiple intervention approach to operate in parallel to abstract measures in the Bill;
13. note Te Puna Ora o Mataatua wishes to be heard in support of this submission at the Select Committee hearing.