Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

NZ: Labour forced to address child poverty

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The New Zealand Labour Party recently announced their “Best Start” policy aimed at reducing child poverty. The policy is a payment of $60 a week for parents earning less than $150,000 per annum for the first year of their child’s life. It continues until the child turns three with a scale of payments set to different income thresholds.

By CWI reporters New Zealand

The policy is far from perfect in that it does not apply when paid parental leave is in effect. It also has the effect of subsiding employers as they are the ones who should shoulder the costs rather than taxpayers.

Despite the payments’ inadequacies this small provision will make a difference to low income earners. Childcare is socially necessary. It is undervalued labour predominately undertaken by women. The work is often given little recognition under capitalism.

This policy shift should be seen as a win given Labour have been forced to make the announcements on the back of campaigns for living wages and ending child poverty. However, this policy alone does not do enough to address child poverty. The real causes of poverty can only be achieved through democratic socialism.