Why did he refuse to join with the Green Party to set a goal to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014?
Does the Prime Minister agree that children have the same needs for good food, warm clothes, and secure housing whether or not their parents are in paid work?
We certainly want to see all children doing well in this country, and we believe that the welfare system provides them with a base level of support so that they can get that. Probably where I disagree with the member is that paid work and welfare should be at the same rates.
Has the Prime Minister refused to set a bold target to bring children out of poverty because he knows that most of the children in poverty live in benefit-reliant households, and that therefore bringing them out of poverty would require increasing benefit levels?
Actually, every day the Prime Minister and his Ministers work hard on behalf of those children and all New Zealanders in this country. But let me give an example of lifting children out of poverty: if we get people into work, that is the best way to get those children out of poverty. For example, in the 9 months to June this year there was a 24 percent increase in the number of people going off the domestic purposes benefit and into work. Those 5,374 sole parents had more than 8,300 children. Those children—
It is very interesting information that the Minister is sharing with us, but the question was reasonably precise about whether the reason the Prime Minister would not support the Green Party’s goal was that it would mean paying higher levels of benefits. The Minister sort of started to answer it in that she started arguing what other things might be important, but it would be quite helpful to say something about the question asked. If the Minister has forgotten the question, I am very happy to get Metiria Turei to repeat it. Maybe it would be helpful if she did repeat the question.
Has the Prime Minister refused to set a bold target to bring children out of poverty because he knows that most of the children in poverty live in benefit-reliant households, and, therefore, bringing them out of poverty would require increasing benefit levels?
My point was on behalf of the Prime Minister and was that the best way we can get those children out of poverty is to have them in households that are in paid work. For example, in the 9 months to June this year, 5,374 sole parents went off the benefit and into work. That meant that more than 8,300 children were in households that were in paid work and were more likely to be out of poverty.
I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You asked the Minister to address the issue of increasing benefit levels, which she once again did not do.
In fairness, I think the Minister in her answer was disagreeing with the member’s question. Rather than increasing benefit levels—in other words, she was disagreeing with that proposition—she was arguing that the best way to get children out of poverty was getting parents into work, which I think is a perfectly fair way, I think, to reply to the question.
How are low-wage jobs a solution to poverty when for every five children living in poverty, two are living in working households—how are low-wage jobs a solution to that?
Because people are more likely to get into a higher-paid job by being in work, gaining skills, and actually being in that working environment.
Would not extending Working for Families to beneficiary families, and raising the minimum wage for working families, be sufficient to bring 100,000 children out of poverty by 2014, and why does the Prime Minister consistently refuse to do it for those children who are most in need?
I choose to answer the first part of that question. There is currently a court case going on about Working for Families and the in-work tax credit, and I am not prepared to answer that question.
Is the Prime Minister aware that in Australia children receive the same Government support regardless of whether their parents are in or out of work, and that the Australian minimum wage is about NZ$19.50 an hour; if so, has he considered that introducing those child-friendly policies in New Zealand might actually help with his failing goal of catching up with Australia?
Does the Prime Minister believe that caring for children at home is work, and valuable work, in this country?