Child Poverty in New Zealand

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Child poverty is a major and complex issue that New Zealand faces today. The degree is far more severe than the public's perception and it is a problem that we cannot afford to ignore. A combination of factors contributes to child poverty, from individual causes at the micro level to the macro collective government involvement. This occurs partly due to social construction and it is potentially avoidable. The consequences can impact on both individual and to a great extent affect significantly on the country as a whole. If the issue is not resolved, the inequality will continue, if not worsen and becomes an ongoing intergeneration cycle. 'The poor get poorer and poorer', children can easily fall into the poverty trap where it becomes nearly impossible to reach an end to this issue. The consequences of the disparity have a major outcome on the societal level.

Poverty is a very difficult concept to have an agreed definition or how it should be measured. As a result of lack of common purpose or goals, it is challenging to establish focused solutions that resolve this issue. The Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group define child poverty as to children who "experience deprivation of the material resources and income" that is necessary for them to achieve their full potential and are excluded from the normal patterns of modern life (Children's Commissioner, 2012, p1). These children miss out on opportunities that most members of New Zealand society take for granted. A universal understanding is that there are two types of poverty - absolute or relative. Absolute poverty refers to lack of one or more basic needs (e.g. food and shelter) that is essential for the individual to remain alive, or it can threaten or cause harm to t...

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There is a strong implication of an increase in child poverty in the past decade. There are multiple and complex risk factors involved, socio-economic circumstances contribute most to the increase in New Zealand inequalities. In order to solve this issue and achieve equal life-chances, it requires both individual agency's participation and practical long-term commitment from the government. It requires vision and innovative approach that target those at the bottom of the social scale. Particularly, a universal provision of health services, good public education and endure high-quality natural environment to ensure children are receiving the basic requirement for them to achieve full potential. Resolving the progression of the ongoing negative intergeneration cycle is a fundamental part for the greater success of the country as a whole.
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