You’ve got to give the left credit where it’s due – they’re very good at getting issues into the headlines and they’re doing well with their latest cause – child poverty.
Getting headlines is easy enough for what is a very emotive issue.
Translating that into practical help is much harder but at least there is growing acknowledgement that the solution isn’t as simple as giving more money.
Professor David Fergusson who directed a study which shows parental income affects how well children do as adults said:
the study showed that income inequality and behavioural issues, such as parents’ addictions, both had to be tackled to fix social problems.
“For example, increasing the income of substance-using parents may be counter-productive since it will give them more access to purchasing alcohol or drugs,” he said.
Giving parents more money is no guarantee any or all of it will be spent to the benefit of children.
It’s also important to remember it’s not just the amount of money a family earns/receives that makes a difference.
The 2008 living standards survey found that:
- the hardship rate for sole parent families is around 4 times that for those in two parent families (39% and 11% respectively)
- beneficiary families with dependent children have a hardship rate of around 5 times that for working families with children (51% and 11% respectively)
- sole parent families in work have a hardship rate (20%) well below that for sole parent beneficiary families (54%)
- Maori and Pacific people have hardship rates some 2 to 3 times that of those in the European or Other ethnic groups
- families with 4 or more children have higher hardship rates (27%) than those with 1-2 children (17%)