Child poverty is a reality in New Zealand 

As many as 28 per cent of New Zealand children – about 295,000 – currently live in poverty. 

When a child grows up in poverty they miss out on things most New Zealanders take for granted. They are living in cold, damp, over-crowded houses, they do not have warm or rain-proof clothing, their shoes are worn, and many days they go hungry. It can mean doing badly at school, not getting a good job, having poor health and falling into a life of crime.


Child Poverty is Costly

For individual children, the short-term impacts include having not enough food and living in a cold, damp house. Poverty is often a life-long sentence. It can mean lower levels of education and income, poorer health, and higher rates of criminal offending in adulthood.



The risk of not investing in children

When the government misses the mark for children, a $10 billion expenditure continues year on year. The economic drain on New Zealand is massive, but the social cost is equally dramatic.

These children living in poverty develop higher and more pressing health needs. Children who are maltreated are more likely to have poor mental health into the future and also more likely to be involved in the justice system. This extra burden on the justice system alone costs about $2 billion every year.  


1 in 4 New Zealand Children are living in poverty.


A Story from Porirua, New Zealand...



Ending Child Poverty in New Zealand

Currently, the economic cost of child poverty is in the range of NZ$6-8 billion per year. Failure to alleviate child poverty now will damage New Zealand's long-term prosperity. Government policy and budget has the single biggest impact on child poverty rates. More than this, policy from government affects family income, housing, health and education – all of which have profound impacts on children.

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Page last updated: 19 Dec 2016 9:19am
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