Child Poverty Report 2022
This is the fourth report on child poverty to be released with the Budget. It shows the progress we made towards our first three-year targets for 2017/18 to 2020/21. It also shows the actions we are taking through Budget 2022 to make progress towards the second three-year targets for 2021/22 to 2023/24.
Budget 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:
- 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
- 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 2020/21, which is the third year of reporting on the targets under the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. This report addresses paragraph (a) by providing a high-level view of recent trends up to and including 2020/21, before discussing the expected impact of Budget 2022 to address paragraph (b).
This Government is committed to taking substantial action to reduce child poverty and hardship in New Zealand. We passed the historic Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018, setting both a 10-year target and ambitious interim targets that aim to more than halve rates of measured child poverty. These targets will help us to achieve our goal to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child or young person.
Over the first three-year target period, and despite the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic headwinds, the Government has put in place a comprehensive package of initiatives that have made a real difference to the lives of New Zealand children. Actions like the Families Package, introducing the Winter Energy Payment, and lifting main benefit rates have put more money in the pockets of Kiwi families. We've also supported families through COVID-19 with the Wage Subsidy, the Leave Support Scheme, and the Care in the Community welfare response programme.
There is more work to do, but we are now seeing real progress on the official measures. The latest figures for 2020/21 show:
- rates on all nine income and material hardship measures in the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 are trending downwards
- the Government has achieved two out of three of the first three-year targets and made significant progress against the third target.
In Budget 2022, we're building on this proven track record by further supporting New Zealand families through the challenging economic environment ahead by direct and indirect investments to help reduce child poverty and improve wellbeing. These investments will help us achieve a significant and sustained reduction in rates of child poverty and ensure tamariki in New Zealand get the very best start in life.