7 Nov 2011

Advocacy group urges National to sign child pledge

6:17 pm on 7 November 2011

Child advocacy group Every Child Counts is disappointed the National Party has failed to sign a pledge to end child poverty by 2020.

The Labour, Green and Maori parties signed the pledge in Wellington on Monday morning.

Save the Children is one of the organisations which makes up Every Child Counts, and chief executive Liz Gibbs says it's disappointing no National Party MP was prepared to sign the undertaking.

"Clearly the outcomes for children at the moment in this country are completely unacceptable.

"Our poverty indicators are appalling, particularly for Maori and Pasifika, so it's critical for the future of the nation that we get it right for children going forward."

She urged all political parties to sign the pledge and said there was still time for National to do so before the election.

But National's leader John Key says he is proud of his party's efforts to reduce poverty and signing a pledge does not mean anything.

Mr Key says National has worked hard over the past three years to take the hard edges off the recession and protect those on low incomes and benefits.

Maori Party candidate for Te Tai Tonga, Rahui Katene, says she and Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei have set up a cross-party group in Parliament to discuss child poverty but National has refused to engage in that forum as well.