The Wellbeing Budget

Child Poverty Report

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Budget Day child poverty reporting requirements

The Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 amended the Public Finance Act 1989, introducing section 15EA which requires the supporting information for the main Appropriation Bill (the Budget) to include a report on child poverty. The report must:

  1. discuss any progress made, in the most recent completed financial year, in reducing child poverty consistent with the targets under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018; and

  2. indicate whether and, if so, to what extent, measures in or related to that Bill will affect child poverty.

The most recently completed financial year is 2017/18 and the targets under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 begin in 2018/19. This report therefore addresses paragraph (a) by providing a high‑level view of recent trends up to 2017/18, before discussing the expected impact of Budgets 2018 and 2019 to address paragraph (b).

Background

Budget 2019 marks New Zealand's first ever Budget Day report on child poverty.

Our Coalition Government is committed to reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing. Building on the Families Package, we have made this a priority area for investment in Budget 2019. We have also passed legislation to make sure that Governments now – and in the future – are held to account for decisions that have economic, fiscal and wellbeing impacts on children living in poverty.

The Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 ('the Act') will help to ensure an enduring focus on reducing child poverty, political accountability against published targets and transparent reporting on the progress we are making.

Children depend on the resources of their family, whānau and wider community for having their basic material needs met. For individual children, poverty is about growing up in a household that experiences financial hardship and the stress that arises from having to make decisions that involve trade‑offs between basic needs. The experience of poverty can involve various forms of hardship, such as going hungry, living in cold, damp houses and foregoing opportunities, like school outings and sports activities.

There is strong evidence that growing up in poverty can harm children in multiple ways. These effects are particularly evident when poverty is severe and persistent, and when it occurs during early childhood. The harmful effects of child poverty can continue into adulthood, impacting individuals' future wellbeing and potential, and the economy and society more generally.

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