(National Party media release)

A grim new record has been broken by the Labour Government, which has delivered the highest number of children living in benefit dependant households, National’s Child Poverty Reduction spokesperson Louise Upston says.

Data released by the Ministry of Social Development shows that over 211,000 children are living in benefit dependent homes across New Zealand; the highest on record.

“It is mindboggling that Labour claims it is making progress in reducing child poverty when it has delivered 39,000 more children living in benefit dependent homes in just six years.

“The talk just doesn’t match the facts. “With benefit numbers forecast to rise even further as the recession bites, it’s likely more families will be pushed into benefit dependency in the coming months.

“Research shows that one of the most important factors in predicting whether a student will fail to achieve NCEA level 1 and 2 is growing up in a benefit dependent household.

“Lifting more New Zealanders out of benefit dependency is one of the most important things we can do to ensure every Kiwi kid can get the world class education they deserve and the opportunity of a great start in life.

“National knows that real change is needed. Through a strong economy we can reduce the cost-of-living, lift incomes for all, and afford the public services that will help lift families and their children out of hardship and into a brighter future.”