There are many children living in poverty in the Bay of Plenty. They are being fed by Tauranga’s foodbank, presenting at hospital with serious skin infections and living in sub-standard conditions, according to school principals in the area.
In Merivale, one of Tauranga’s poorest suburbs, families are living in over-crowded houses and illness is rife as parents struggle to afford to take their children to the doctor.
The Principal of Merivale School, Jan Tinetti, said children living in poverty was not new in the community but was currently the worst she had seen it in her six years at the school. “It’s really tough and there have been times when your heart gets broken,” she told the Bay of Plenty Times.
More than half of the 230,000 New Zealand children living in poverty are Maori and Pasifika, and as a result they score poorly on all measures compared to other groups of children.
Last year Every Child Counts published a report on Maori and Pasifika children living in poverty, He Ara Hou – The Pathway Forward.
Maori child advocacy organisation Ririki is proposing a $3m public education campaign to address parenting issues in Maori whanau.
The Green Party says unless there is cross-party consensus children will remain trapped in poverty.
Labour says a cross-party agreement would be a long-term sustainable approach to reducing child poverty but it thinks the likelihood of getting the Government to agree to it is slim.
News category: New Zealand.