New Zealand, a country with a GDP of $181.1 billion and one of the most trade-friendly economies, has recently called attention to its large population of poor children. On October 29, Doctor Russell Wills, New Zealand’s Child Commissioner, announced he would lead an initiative to solve the problem. The Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on Solutions to Child Poverty recently released a report stating that one in four New Zealand children live in poverty.
The government has recommended urgent steps to achieve a significant reduction in child poverty in New Zealand. A few of these measures include a child poverty strategy, measures to combat income poverty, and improved access to better housing and healthcare. Professor Jonathon Boston, co-chair of the EAG, stated, “we [New Zealand] need a proper strategic approach, with specific poverty reduction targets and a clear monitoring and reporting framework.”
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has made a personal effort by partnering with Otago University to produce an annual measure and report on child poverty. Jacinda Ardern, the spokesperson for the main opposition Labour Party, stated that New Zealand’s lack of effort to solve the child poverty problem has made the nation an “outlier” with the other OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
– Lienna Feleke- Eshete