5 Sep 2014

Child poverty 'needs to be tackled'

12:00 pm on 5 September 2014

An advocacy group wants the next government to establish a national plan to combat child poverty rather than just chip away at it.

A study released today by the Child Poverty Action Group indicates 80 per cent of people aged 18 and over think child poverty is a major problem.

Of some 1100 people questioned, 40 percent said they believed child poverty was due to unemployment, low wages and rising living costs, while another 40 percent blame bad parenting.

Twelve per cent thought a lack of government policies and support were factors.

Child Poverty Action Group spokesperson Nikki Turner said the figures reflected a divide in attitudes over whether poverty is a shared or individual responsibility. However a majority - 82 percent those questioned - believed free doctors visits for all children could be a practical solution.

"There was awareness in the survey where people were seeing policy issues that can make a difference to ameliorate child poverty and that was the one that really stood out."

The major political parties are promising to extend free GP visits to more age groups if elected.

The National-led government has extended free doctors' visits and prescriptions for children aged under six to all children aged under 13 to take effect from July next year.

Labour make doctor' visits and prescriptions free for children aged up to 13, pregnant women and the over-65s. Pregnant women would also get free dental care.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

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