Jacinda Ardern vows to cut child poverty in NZ by half in 10 years

In a speech to mark her 100 days in office, New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern vows to reduce child poverty by half in her country in a decade.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to halve child poverty in her country over the next 10 years.

She outlined the 10-year targets to measure her Labour government's success at Wellington's St Peter's Anglican Church on Wednesday night with her finance minister, Grant Robertson.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand can and should "aspire to be the best place in the world to be a child".

The recently elected prime minister, who announced she was pregnant with her first child with partner Clarke Gayford, said she wanted the public to hold her government accountable when it came to combating child poverty.

Ms Ardern set out three measures people could use to track her government's progress.

The first was to reduce the proportion of children living in poverty from the current rate of 15 per cent of children to just five per cent. Ms Ardern said that equated to 100,000 children.

She also acknowledged the nation was in a "housing crisis", so she planned to cut the roughly 20 per cent of children who were part of families who would be considered to be in poverty after housing costs down to 10 per cent.

Finally she vowed to half the number of children who faced material hardship - where families couldn't afford to go to the doctor, fill prescriptions or heat their homes – from 13 to 15 per cent to seven per cent.

Ms Ardern said "my government's plan will roughly halve child poverty within 10 years", according to 'The New Zealand Herald'.

"No one has made that kind of dent in child poverty in a 10-year period in New Zealand, no one, but we want to and we will," Ms Ardern told the crowd.

"If we successfully manage to achieve these goals ... we will be amongst the best-performing countries in the developed world."

This pledge follows Ms Ardern's announcement of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill the day before, which “reflects the government's intent to help achieve a significant and sustained reduction in child poverty".

Published 31 January 2018 at 7:42pm, updated 31 January 2018 at 8:32pm
By Louise Cheer