24 February 2022  Media Releases

More work needed to make lives better for our children

Child Poverty statistics released today show an encouraging trend according to Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers.

“I welcome the trends reported today, but we need to recognise there is still much work to do for the children of our nation.

“It is really encouraging that all three measures of child poverty are trending downwards. The reality though, is that there are still too many mokopuna/children and young people in Aotearoa living in poverty shown in these measures.

“There will need to be a concerted nationwide effort, with a laser-like focus on the goal of reducing child poverty, if we are to meet the future targets.

“We know children experiencing poverty are significantly disadvantaged in life outcomes and it remains disgraceful that so many of our mokopuna, our children and young people are still suffering the full effects of poverty.

“However, I was encouraged to see that, while one income measure has met the target for all children, the poverty reduction on this measure was even greater for tamariki Māori and Pacific children. It needed to be, due to the inequities we see in Aotearoa. It shows that policies targeting poverty reduction - such as improving minimum wages - can and do work.

“We cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal if we are to ensure we can continue to lift more children out of poverty and improve equity.

“Every child lifted out of poverty is contributing to better health, education and quality of life for our children, our mokopuna, their whānau and ultimately our country. Our children, our mokopuna will only flourish and live fulfilling lives when they and their whānau have the income and essentials they need to thrive and achieve.

“Everyone has a stake in reducing child poverty” says Judge Eivers. “There is still a huge amount of work to do. I’m encouraged with the trend but not satisfied. I want to see better lives for all our children in Aotearoa – a nation where our children are loved, safe and nurtured and can live their best lives. There is a huge effort needed and everyone has a role to play, led by the Government. As Children’s Commissioner I will not let up on my resolve to see better outcomes for all our mokopuna/children and ultimately New Zealand,” says Judge Eivers.