Budget 2023 supports child wellbeing across a range of initiatives
Improving child wellbeing goes beyond targets. Child wellbeing is complex, and it requires us to provide the right kind of support so children can achieve their potential. Although we are not able to model the size of the impact of these initiatives on child poverty rates, the following initiatives will still make a material difference to the lives of families, whānau and children living in poverty.
Further changes in the education and childcare sector to ensure equity, affordability, and accessibility
Education is central to breaking intergenerational cycles of disadvantage, and ensuring children and young people have the support they need. In addition to the support outlined above, we are investing in education by:
- providing funding to add approximately 6,600 student places to the school network and to build four new schools, to meet increased demand for school places
- providing additional funding for the Christchurch Schools Rebuild Programme to support 33 schools’ projects
- building learning support in Kaupapa Māori and Māori medium schooling, ensuring children and young people with learning support needs are supported to reach their potential
- investing in strengthening Pacific Early Learning Education to improve Pacific early learning services’ ability to provide high quality education that reflects the cultures, identities, and languages of its communities.
Changes to support parents to enter and remain in employment
Supporting parents into sustainable and suitable employment, where appropriate, will help children living in poverty by lifting family and whānau incomes. We are:
- permanently reinstating the Training Incentive Allowance to support people into higher-level study. The Allowance provides non-taxable financial assistance to sole parents and disabled people and their carers, to help them participate in study up to undergraduate level
- providing further funding for the Oranga Mahi employment programme, which is trialling health and employment services in partnership with health agencies and community groups to improve wellbeing and employment outcomes for disabled people and people with health conditions
- continuing to fund the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, providing support to regional and provincial councils to continue delivering community-based employment solutions, primarily for young people aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training.
Further investment in public housing to ensure children have access to affordable, safe and stable housing
- Living in a safe, warm and dry home is essential to children’s wellbeing. To support this outcome, we are providing funding to build an additional 3,000 public housing places to support the most vulnerable New Zealanders into housing.
Changes to ensure children have their basic needs met
- We are continuing to invest inthe community food sector, to ensure access to affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food for under-served communities. This includes maintaining community food distribution infrastructure, and providing seed funding for food security initiatives such as social enterprises and māra kai.
- Further funding for 100 Community Connector positions to ensure people have access to short-term support to prevent and reduce the impacts of hardship. Connectors will support and advocate for individuals and whānau until they are connected with the appropriate services.
- The establishment of the Children and Young People’s Commission will strengthen system-level advocacy for all New Zealand children and young people. The Government’s investment will support the enhanced functions and activities of the Commission, including practical commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and upholding the wellbeing of children and young people.
- Funding for Ngā Tini Whetu to provide targeted support for 650 Hapū Wāhine and their whānau during their first 1,000 days. Following a successful initial prototype delivered through Te Pou Matakana, this funding will extend the focus of the programme to include the wellbeing of hapū māmā, pēpē and whānau in their first 1,000 days.
Changes to support disabled families and children with disabilities
- Continued cost pressure funding for Whaikaha, the Ministry of Disabled People, established in July 2023, will enable the continued delivery of support for tangata whaikaha Māori and disabled people and their families. This will contribute towards improved outcomes for disabled people, including disabled children and young people.
- Under current legislation, employers are able to pay some disabled employees less than the minimum wage. We will introduce a wage supplement to replace the minimum wage exemption, which will ensure the approximately 800 disabled employees in New Zealand are paid at the minimum wage rate and at the same time protecting their jobs. This will improve the incomes of disabled workers and uphold their mana in the workplace.
Changes to address harm caused by family violence and sexual violence
- All children should live in a home where they feel safe, and we are continuing our investment towards eliminating family and sexual violence. Further investment in Te Aorerekura, our national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, will help break intergenerational cycles of violence. We will achieve this through further investment, such as taking a kaupapa Māori approach to specialist sexual violence services. Continued funding for the Family Violence Help Portal and new funding for advocates to support children in Women’s Refuge sites will help safeguard the most vulnerable in our communities from violence and abuse.