This is the full list of recommendations from a report on child poverty commissioned by the Children's Commissioner and Barnardos. Take a deep breath before you read it;
Ensure that all children are enroled in Wellchild and a general practice service at birth.
Ensure children can get after-hours and weekend medical attention and prescriptions at all times, without cost.
Improve immunisation rates to match the best-performing OECD countries.
Progressively extend free medical visits to children of all ages in all areas.
Expand the stock of public, local authority and non-profit rental housing to ensure timely allocation to all families with children who meet the “severe” and “significant” housing-need criteria.
Further develop long term, collaborative commitments between central government, local government, communities and business, to programmes of infrastructure development and community renewal in low-income communities.
Substantially increase funding via the Discretionary Grants Scheme for establishment grants and running costs, to equalise access to and participation in early childhood care and education services across deciles.
Provide free early childhood care and education for at-risk children aged 18 months to three years from low-income households, taking account of the lessons from the forthcoming evaluation of the Family Start early childhood hubs pilot.
In the medium term, extend the age range and number of hours of free early childhood care and education entitlement.
Provide extra support and funding (in addition to decile funding) to lower-decile schools, linked to specific programmes and initiatives such as reading recovery
and professional development, with the objective of achieving equitable education outcomes.
Set targets for raising teenage parents’ school participation, qualifications and achievements to match average qualifications and achievements.
Raise the maximum payment rate for paid parental leave from its current level of under half of average adult full-time earnings to at least two-thirds of average full-time earnings, and extend the period of paid parental leave to six months (plus four weeks paternity leave) as a matter of priority, and subsequently to 12 months plus four weeks paternity leave.
Review the design and operation of the childcare subsidy with a view to making it easier and fairer to use, increasing take-up and ensuring adequacy.
Substantially increase funding to support the rapid development of affordable
out-of-school services and extended school services, giving priority to lower-income communities.
Fund out-of-school services through direct support to providers on the basis of hours of use, rather than through the Out of School Care and Recreation subsidy.
Restore the 30 percent part-time work abatement threshold for sole-parent beneficiaries to the real value it had when it was set in 1996.
Change the Housing New Zealand Corporation income-related rent formula to improve incentives for tenants to enter work or increase their hours of work.
Increase the minimum wage incrementally, as economic conditions allow.
Review the adequacy of core benefit rates, to ensure benefit assistance is sufficient to meet the needs of beneficiaries, especially those with dependent children.
As an immediate first step, increase benefit rates to match the effect of the Budget 2008 income tax reductions on earned income.
Review the mechanism for annual adjustments to benefit rates, and consider a mechanism, such as that used for New Zealand Superannuation, to ensure benefit rates maintain relativity with wages over time, as well as being adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
Restructure the family tax credit so as to reduce the number of rates and to provide relatively more assistance for young children.
Over time, phase out the in-work tax credit and raise the family tax credit, once the availability and affordability of childcare and out-of-school services in low-income areas and for low-income families have been expanded, making it easier for working parents to meet these work-related costs.
Progressively raise the threshold for family tax credit abatement to increase assistance to and reduce effective marginal tax rates for low- to middle-income working families.
Increase the maximum accommodation supplement payments so they reflect actual rental levels and establish a periodic review of maximum payments.
Develop better whole-of-government approaches to ensuring the repayment of government debt does not result in child poverty.
Pass on child support to custodial parents who are on benefits, and treat payments like any other earned income for the purposes of benefit abatement.
Remove the penalty on domestic purposes benefit beneficiaries who do not name liable parents.
Undertake a full review of the child support system, similar to the review in Australia, to ensure that it is fair, contributes appropriately to reducing child poverty and is responsive to the growth of shared parenting and blended families.
This is my list;
- Get rid of lifestyle welfare
- Cut taxes substantially
- Encourage adoption
- Financially incentivise use of long term contraceptives
- Teach children about actions, consequences and personal responsibility thus ending the victimhood and entitlement mentalities
The price tag on the first list would have to be in the billions of dollars.
My list would save us billions.
But more importantly my list is fair to all individuals; it does not rely on massively increased state-forced wealth redistribution which is driving away the productive and ambitious; and it gives children a much better chance of realising there own potential. The first list really is 'socialism by stealth' - stealth because it is attempted in the name of children and most people do not have the wits to realise what it is.
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