The right of all children to grow up to be healthy, strong, well-educated and capable of contributing to their societies underpins every international agreement to recognise and protect children’s rights.
Poverty interferes with the capacity of children to enjoy this right and for children in rich countries, relative poverty also perpetuates cycles of disadvantage and inequity.
As a result, some children miss out the opportunities to be educated, healthy or nourished compared with their peers.
New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development that came into effect in January 2016.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a target to, by 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of children living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.
Consistent measurement is essential to developing successful policies and programmes to end child poverty in all its forms.
Three Groups of Indicators
The 2017 Child Poverty Monitor Technical Report provides the fifth consecutive annual report on indicators and implications of child poverty in New Zealand, and progress toward achieving selected SDGs that are relevant to children.
The first part of the Report is relevant to the goal of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere and presents data on five measures or dimensions of child poverty in New Zealand.
The second group of indicators tracks progress towards goals to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, and promote peaceful and inclusive societies.
The third group of indicators provides information about the context in which the specific child-related issues arise, and are particularly relevant to goals to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all and to reduce inequality within and between countries.
The Child Poverty Monitor comprises a partnership between the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service (NZCYES) at the University of Otago, and the J R McKenzie Trust.
The Child Poverty Monitor partners choose indicators taking into consideration the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty and the indicators previously included in the Children’s Social Health Monitor.
“Poverty is not just about having “less than” it is about “not having enough”
Child Poverty Measures
The number and proportion of dependent 0–17 Year olds living in income-poor households increased significantly between 1988 and 1992, and these figures remain high.
The number and proportion of dependent 0–17 Year olds living in households with the most severe income poverty have not declined since 2012.
To meet the UN SDG target, New Zealand must achieve at least 50% reduction from 2015 levels in all indicators of income poverty by 2030.
Editor’s Note: The above is an extract of the introductory comments of the ‘Child Poverty Technical Report 2017’ published on December 8, 2017. The Report (available at www.childpoverty.co.nz) was a Partnership Project comprising the Children’s Commissioner, JR McKenzie Trust and Otago University based on the Ministry of Social Development data. The following page contains opinions on the Report.