Broader approach to child poverty needed
Last week the government released the 2015 Household Incomes Report which examines disposable income, inequality and poverty in New Zealand. There is a companion report – the Non-Income Measures Report – which measures wellbeing based on access to basic necessities, such as food, clothing and adequate housing.
Both of the reports paint a sobering picture of child poverty in New Zealand and highlight the need for far-reaching and sustained efforts to ensure all children can thrive.
While there are multiple measures of poverty, the reports indicate there are 220,000 children living below 50% of the median income threshold after deducting housing costs and 305,000 living below 60% of the median income threshold after deducting housing costs. This is an increase from 2013 and represents a significant number of children who are most likely going without basic necessities.
“These latest reports highlight the need to do more to address child poverty,” said Clare Wells, Chief Executive, New Zealand Kindergartens. “We want every child to succeed in education, growing up to be confident, competent lifelong learners. Being hungry and cold, combined with inadequate housing and transportation, creates significant barriers for children and whānau to successfully engage in learning and their community.”
For further comment: Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044.
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) Incorporated, Te Pūtahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa, is the umbrella organisation representing twenty-six regional kindergarten associations covering over 430 kindergartens and early childhood education services. Nationwide kindergartens provide services for nearly 32,000 enrolled children as well as support for their families and whānau. We are committed to working with parents, communities and the government to offer high quality services, with 100% qualified teachers, which meet the unique needs of children and whānau.
NZK provides services to all families. Almost two-thirds of kindergartens are in low and middle income areas. After nga kōhanga reo and correspondence school, kindergarten has the highest percentage of Māori children attending (22%), and among Pasifika children, kindergarten has the highest percentage attending alongside education and care services (8%). Almost twenty per cent of early childhood education enrolments in communities with a Ministry of Health deprivation index rating of 10 (the most socio-economically deprived communities) are in kindergartens.