Child Poverty Action Group Policy Requests
Written by Child Poverty Action Group as part of the Spend My Super series that takes a look at how each political party will address child poverty in New Zealand.
This is Child Poverty Action Group's request:
Children will bear much of the economic fallout of COVID-19 – unless we prioritise their wellbeing in our policy decisions now.
For example, Treasury predicts the number of children in material hardship will increase under current policy settings due to COVID-19, and CPAG’s own research suggests slightly more than 70,000 additional children could be at risk of relative poverty due to COVID-19-related unemployment.
This puts them at further risk of toxic stress, social isolation, community withdrawal, physical ill-health, lower educational achievement and mental distress.
The distress is gravely serious: more than one in ten high school students in the most deprived areas (NZDep1-3) attempted suicide in the 12 months before the Youth19 survey (11%): approximately four times the rate for students in areas with the least deprivation (NZDep8-10) (2.7%).
Health is one of Child Poverty Action Group’s three election priority areas, along with income support and housing.
We would like to see:
Free primary care, prescriptions and vision and hearing care, and proactive, free dental care, for all those aged under 18.
This would support good health, as well as alleviating some worry for low-income families and whānau.
Primary care is currently free for those aged 13 and under – and any parent who has tried to feed and clothe growing teenagers knows they can cost more than their younger siblings. As a society we need to affirm to our rangatahi and young people that their health is as important as that of younger children.
Enabling free health care is a way to let them know that their community values them, and cares about their well-being. And as young people take on increasing responsibility for their own lives as they grow older, it also encourages them to see that seeking and receiving help for health issues is part of good well-being.
This article has been republished with approval from Spend My Super,an organisation that is committed to finding new ways to help children in poverty. By uniting Kiwi over 65’s, Spend My Super is helping solve child poverty by enabling them to easily share their surplus superannuation with trusted charities, each chosen for their real impact.