Prime Minister John Key said the government was committed to reducing the number of children in poverty but didn’t want to put a figure on it.
Asked why the government could set goals to make the country predator-free but not measure the number of children in poverty, Mr Key said it was a complicated area, and the advice the government had been given was it was difficult to have one particular figure.
He said it was more binary in terms of whether there was a rat or stoat or possum there, whereas there were a range of different ways of measuring poverty.
It was better to focus on factors that contributed to deprivation rather than the exact numbers, Mr Key said.
“Isn’t it better for the government to say, ‘Rheumatic fever’s an issue, potentially prevalent with high levels of deprivation and therefore let’s focus on that rather than worry too much about the individual measure of poverty?'” . .
There is no one definition for poverty which makes it impossible to get an accurate count on how many children suffer from it.
But there is no argument over children in severe deprivation being at risk of rheumatic fever.
Focusing on that will make a positive difference to the lives of those affected by and at risk of this very serious illness where counting won’t.
Mending beats measuring.