Thursday March 22, 2018   Last updated 14:51PM

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Poverty pledge lacking focus

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A leading advocate for welfare reform want to know which 100,000 children National of Labour want to bring out of poverty.

National Party leader Bill English made the pledge in an election debate last week, and it was quickly matched by Labour’s Jacinda Ardern.

Alan Johnson from the Salvation Army’s social policy unit says former Prime Minister John Key made a similar pledge on behalf of National at the last election.

"He made a big thing of addressing poverty but then it was defined away as vulnerable children and we’ve had all this nonsense about the Vulnerable Children’s Act and defining vulnerable children as children whose mother had them when she was young, whose mother or dad has been to prison or been on benefits so we’ve defined away the problem. We’ve got to be certain we don’t do that again with the current debate that’s happening," he says.

Mr Johnson says up to 290,000 children live in poverty, but he suspects the parties will prioritise children of the working poor through increases to Working for Families allowances, rather than addressing the poverty of children whose parents are on benefits.


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