I was asked to respond to a letter to the Southland Times where the writer was asking what National was doing to alleviate child poverty.  Given I’ve been asked this question a few times, I thought it might be relevant to include my response here:

Child poverty has been addressed by the current Government, and is high on the agenda for National as part of our health, education and welfare policies.

There are clear links between welfare, poverty and poor health. Evidence shows children are better off when their parents are in work, not on welfare.

The Government has greater aspirations for New Zealanders and their children. Helping unemployed parents up-skill for part-time work when their children reach five, providing better childcare options for parents, improving access to frontline health services, and providing support to the most vulnerable in our society are key policy platforms for National.

By the end of 2014, 95 per cent of eight-month-olds will be fully immunised with three scheduled vaccinations.

We will also roll out a $12 million nation-wide rheumatic fever programme, which will target communities vulnerable to the disease.

Under our primary care policy, we will bring together hospital and community health services to improve patient care. We are extending free GP care for children under the age of six to include after-hours care.

There is no easy answer to bringing every child out of poverty.  But National has a plan to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.