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Child Poverty in New Zealand

Author(s): Jonathan Boston & Simon Chapple


Between 175,000 and 265,000 New Zealand children live in poverty, depending on the measure used. These disturbing figures are widely discussed, yet often poorly understood. If New Zealand does not have ‘third world poverty’, what are these children actually experiencing? Is the real problem not poverty but simply poor parenting? How does New Zealand compare globally and what measures of poverty and hardship are most relevant here? What are the consequences of this poverty for children, their families and society? Can we afford to reduce child poverty and, if we can, how? Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple look hard at these questions, drawing on available national and international evidence and speaking to an audience across the political spectrum. Their analysis highlights the strong and urgent case for addressing child poverty in New Zealand. Crucially, the book goes beyond illustrating the scale of this challenge, and why it must be addressed, to identifying real options for reducing child poverty. A range of practical and achievable policies is presented, alongside candid discussion of their strengths and limitations. These proposals for improving the lives of disadvantaged children deserve wide public debate and make this a vitally important book for all New Zealanders.


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Jonathan Boston is the Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. Professor Boston is a leading contributor to policy debate in New Zealand on a range of issues, and was the co-chair of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty in 2012. The author of numerous books and articles, he contributed to Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis (BWB, 2013), and chaired the book’s advisory group.

Simon Chapple is a Senior Research Fellow in the Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, Department of Preventative and Social Medicine, Otago University. Dr Chapple has held senior economist and public policy roles in New Zealand and abroad, spanning the Department of Labour, Ministry of Social Development, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Introduction:  The political economy of child poverty in New Zealand

 Part 1:  Why Child Poverty Matters

1  What is child poverty?

2  Myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings

3  Why child poverty should be addressed

 Part 2:  How Best to Reduce Child Poverty

4  Principles for reducing child poverty

5  How we should think about the big picture

6  Reforming the tax and welfare systems

7  Reforming the active employment system

8  Reforming child support

 Part 3:  Mitigating the Negative Impacts of Child Poverty

 9  Health and housing policy

10 Education, training and employment

11 Helping poor families function better

12 Conclusions

General Fields

  • : 9781927247860
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : May 2014
  • : 240 x 170 mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : May 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jonathan Boston & Simon Chapple
  • : Paperback
  • : 362.70869420993
  • : 300