Child poverty experts aim for action

Last updated 05:00 06/03/2013

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Child poverty experts meet today to critique the Government's record on tackling child welfare.

More than 60 representatives from crown and non-government organisations (NGOs) will gather at Auckland University for the forum.

They aim to create an action plan for the Government based on seven priorities identified in a report late last year from the Office of the Children's Commission's - Solutions to Child Poverty: Evidence for Action.

Those priorities include the Government passing on child support payments, warrants of fitness for rental housing, young parents receiving top quality support and education and collaborative food-in-schools programmes.

Dr Jilly Evans, a cancer researcher who is funding the meeting, says it is worrying child poverty reduction priorities are not being taken seriously.

"Child poverty statistics in New Zealand are appalling and all the reports that come out offering solutions are just not being implemented to make the changes where they are needed - at both the grass-roots and political levels," she said.

"Every day we procrastinate children are still suffering through poverty. We expect a lively and constructive interchange of ideas leading to defined action points to reduce New Zealand children's poverty issues."

The meeting is being hosted by the university's Faculty of Education and will be addressed by Dr Allan Freeth, a former chief executive of TelstraClear and Wrightson who will talk about the role of business leadership beyond profits.

The workshop will hear from Commissioner for Children Dr Russell Wills and Commissioner for Children's Expert Advisory Group co-chair Dr Tracey McIntosh.

"Representatives from organisational, political and community groups, together with frontline workers from across New Zealand will contribute to the discussion tomorrow and we are determined to have a list of concrete actions that can happen straight away," Dr Evans said.

The group is planning to meet again in November to oversee implementation.

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