Selected by the New Zealand Listener as one of the best books of 2014
Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple have written the definitive book on child poverty in New Zealand.Dr Russell Wills, Children’s Commissioner
Between 130,000 and 285,000 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.
Table of Contents
Setting the scene
Part I: Why child poverty matters
1 What is child poverty?
2 Why child poverty should be addressed
3 Myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings
Part II: How best to reduce child poverty
4 Finding solutions – the big issues
5 Incentivising action on child poverty
6 Reform of the tax and benefit system
7 The active employment system
8 Reforming child support
Part III: Mitigating the impacts of child poverty
9 Housing and child poverty
10 Education and child poverty
11 Helping poor families function better
12 Investing for the future