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May 29 , 2010

Child Poverty in New Zealand


Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple have written the definitive book on child poverty in New Zealand. Dr Russell Wills, Children’s Commissioner

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Between 130,000 and 285,000 New Zealand children live in poverty, depending on the measure used. These disturbing figures are widely discussed, yet often poorly understood. If New Zealand does not have ‘third world poverty’, what are these children actually experiencing? Is the real problem not poverty but simply poor parenting? How does New Zealand compare globally and what measures of poverty and hardship are most relevant here? What are the consequences of this poverty for children, their families and society? Can we afford to reduce child poverty and, if we can, how?

Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple look hard at these questions, drawing on available national and international evidence and speaking to an audience across the political spectrum. Their analysis highlights the strong and urgent case for addressing child poverty in New Zealand. Crucially, the book goes beyond illustrating the scale of this challenge, and why it must be addressed, to identifying real options for reducing child poverty. A range of practical and achievable policies is presented, alongside candid discussion of their strengths and limitations. These proposals for improving the lives of disadvantaged children deserve wide public debate and make this a vitally important book for all New Zealanders.

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