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MEDIA RELEASE: 8 August 2014

Poorest children most in need of support

Child Poverty Action Group says excluding around 15,000 newborn babies in beneficiary families from tax-funded support available to all others is discrimination of the worst kind. 

Spokesperson Associate Professor Susan St John said, "Dividing babies into the deserving and undeserving poor is mean-spirited and goes against all evidence that supporting children in their earliest years is vital for their long term development."

Child Poverty Action Group says excluding around 15,000 newborn babies in beneficiary families from tax-funded support available to all others is discrimination of the worst kind. 

Spokesperson Associate Professor Susan St John said, "Dividing babies into the deserving and undeserving poor is mean-spirited and goes against all evidence that supporting children in their earliest years is vital for their long term development."

Papers released to the Green Party, and reported on Stuff today, show the Ministry of Social Development and Treasury both backed assistance to beneficiary parents of new-borns to complement the changes to Paid Parental Leave and Parental Tax Credit.  The MSD said, ''This new assistance would reduce the financial pressures and stress on low-income parents, contribute towards improving wellbeing during a critical period of child development and therefore contribute to improved short and longer-term child outcomes."

Susan St John said, "The Minister's argument that a meagre extra payment would mean a beneficiary parent was getting more support than a working parent on Paid Parental Leave is completely wrong. She is comparing apples and oranges. The sole parent benefit is for the adult and is $299, she gets an extra $92 for the child. The Minister has added on the maximum accommodation assistance to get $552.  A mother on Paid Parental Leave is also entitled to the In Work Tax Credit and the Family Tax Credit to a maximum of $152 if the total household income is under $36350."

CPAG says the government's attitude to the most vulnerable children is unfathomable. Susan St John said, "The government's 'one size fits all' solution that paid employment is the only way to address family poverty makes no provision for the different circumstances families face and takes no account of the valuable work of mothers caring for their babies." 

04:03PM Friday, 08 August, 2014

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