Child Poverty in New Zealand: Kids in Indian Slums Better Fed and Cared For

A reminder today that there are 260,000 children are living in poverty in New Zealand and the poorest are worse off than those in Indian slums.

Professor Jonathan Boston discussed child poverty and his role as co-chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty:

“Child poverty has some very important and serious impacts, not just on the children who suffer from being brought up in deprived conditions but also on the wider society. It has consequences for the individuals and for the society they live in. For example, as a result of children being brought up in homes that have low incomes, in homes with poor insulation and heating, many children suffer significant health effects which imposes signficant costs on wider society. There are much much higher rates of hospitalisation from families on low incomes than from families on high incomes”

According to a report in the NZ Herald Professor Jonathan Boston said

“he saw worse poverty in some Kiwi families than he saw when he spent a month late last year in Delhi slums where his wife, Dr Mary Hutchinson, worked as a volunteer doctor for a Christian charity.

“The Indian Government feeds every primary school child lunch every day for 130 million children,” he said.

“We saw very few seriously malnourished children in the slums of Delhi.

“India has about half of the world’s poorest children, but there are children in New Zealand living in circumstances that are not that much different from those in the slums of Delhi…

“They are in houses that don’t have heating, in caravans that don’t have running water, and in families that simply don’t have enough food of the right kind every day.”

He said that even in India, poverty was relative. Most slum children went to school, health services were available and a high proportion of adults were working, albeit for low wages.

“It’s on a long continuum, and in terms of that continuum some of our children overlap with the circumstances of children in developing countries in a way that I find quite shocking.”… more here

Why should this matter to affluent migrants from first world countries? because it is a symptom of the societal decay in New Zealand and one of the major factors and excuses for the country’s crime problem. Don’t think that is something that only affects Maori and Pacific Island people, many first world migrants also live in poverty in New Zealand.


“Jonathan Boston holds a Personal Chair in Public Policy. He has published widely in the fields of public management, tertiary education, social policy, comparative government, New Zealand politics and climate change policy, including 21 books and over 170 journal articles and book chapters.

During 1995-2003 he was a member of the New Zealand Political Change Project, based at Victoria University of Wellington and funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The Project explored the behavioural, institutional and policy impacts of the introduction of proportional representation in New Zealand in 1996.

In 2000-02 he served as a member of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission, and subsequently worked for the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on the design, implementation and evaluation of the Performance-Based Research Fund. In this capacity he was the primary author of the TEC’s report on the 2003 Quality Evaluation of research performance in New Zealand’s tertiary education sector. During 2005-08 he was Deputy Director of the IPS, and was appointed Director in mid 2008.

Jonathan Boston discusses child poverty and his role as co-chair of the Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty : VIDEO here 






One thought on “Child Poverty in New Zealand: Kids in Indian Slums Better Fed and Cared For

  1. The references to the situation in India are informative as they suggest that policy failure is a significant factor, i.e. it can’t only be due to NZ’s relative economic decline.
    Despite the cold, hard, facts, internationally, the country’s “Model Nation” aura seems to be very durable, NZ seems to be remarkably politically stable, probably sooner or late the consensus will shatter if the trend continues.
    There’s no magic formula that prevents developed nations from joining the ranks of the so-called “middle Income” countries–it happened to Argentina.

    Kiwis should have joined the Australian Federation when they had the chance.

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