Wellington, June 5 NZPA - The Maori Party is promoting its policy of an official poverty line in New Zealand and an increase in the minimum wage after a shock report on child health.
Party co-leader Tariana Turia is calling on MPs from all parties to start working together to tackle child poverty, saying the Public Health Advisory Committee's report is "a serious wake up call for politicians".
The report, The Best Start in Life, was tabled in Parliament on Thursday and describes a serious situation.
It says a 2009 OECD report ranked New Zealand 29th out of 30 developed countries for child health and safety and there was a big gap between wealth and poor families.
"One finding that really got to me is that disease patterns among children in this country are closer to those of developing countries, and that health outcomes are low because gaps have widened between the health status of different groups in our communities over the past three decades," Mrs Turia said last night.
Mrs Turia is an Associate Minister of Health and of Social Development. She said there were more than 200,000 children living in poverty in New Zealand and nearly half of them were Maori.
Her party has a policy to end child poverty by 2020 which includes:
* Designating an official poverty line;
* Investigating the reintroduction of a universal child benefit;
* Increasing the minimum wage from $12.50 to $15 an hour; and
* Capping rents for state housing.