Looking at the rise in global numbers of poor, the New Zealand government has made a special budget that focuses on housing and child poverty. Budget Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have listed child wellbeing, climate change and affordable housing as priorities for the next three years. The bulk of the housing announcements were made in March as the Government moved to try to slow down a rocketing property market, and major climate change investment is not expected until next year’s Budget. Since the latest child poverty report came out, Jacinda Arden made adjustments in the budget and mentioned that small improvements showed the Government’s interventions such as the Families Package were having some impact.
Realizing that there is still a group of children for whom life at home is quite different, advocacy groups such as Auckland City Mission have been calling for a near doubling of benefit levels to get children out of poverty. Child Poverty Action Group economics spokeswoman Susan St John said she hoped to see some transformative change this Budget, rather than the “tinkering” recently.
However, it is not easy to alter the budget and include a new section, there are still other factors like a lack of affordable housing, families deep in debt. Some have fallen so far behind that it will be a long time before their balance sheets are repaired. Although, New Zealand is taking a huge leap to start the chain of change. The Government has already announced an extension of the bright-line test and $3.8 billion for a housing infrastructure scheme. Finance Minister Robertson added that there was the “cornerstone” of the Government’s housing approach this year.
Along with housing and child welfare, a separate allocation has been made for Climate concerns. The government has identified the major areas that need immediate attention and Climate Change Minister James Shaw is looking forward to major fundings would come in Budget 2022.