New Zealand Child Poverty Monitor Report Reveals 1 in 4 Kids Live in Damp, Crowded Homes

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By Reissa Su | December 9, 2013 1:28 PM EST

A new report revealed that one out of four children in New Zealand live in poverty as more children stay in cramped homes. The Child Poverty Monitor also found that one out of six children is surviving without access to basic necessities. The report said the children may be missing out on meals and doctor's visits, and could be sleeping on the floor.

According to the new rigorous measure, the number of children admitted to hospitals because of poor living conditions is increasing. The data shows that tens of thousands of children are being treated in hospitals every year due to infectious and respiratory diseases linked with overcrowded and damp homes.

New Zealand Children's Commissioner and Hawke's Bay pediatrician Russell Wills said he sees young children from crowded homes that are admitted to the hospital because of skin infections. Dr Wills said sick children with poverty-related illnesses are filling up the wards.

According to the report, children continue to be the most impoverished group in New Zealand.  Kiwi children, especially the youngest, are more likely to live poorly than people in their retirement age. Most children living in poverty are under the care of solo parents. They are the most vulnerable to sickness and injury.

The Child Poverty Monitor was commissioned by Dr Wills after the New Zealand government had not taken action when urged to measure child poverty. The Children's Commissioner secured private funding from JR McKenzie Trust, a Wellington-based charity. A new report will be released every year to monitor the well-being of impoverished children.

Auckland Auction Against Poverty hold protests

A group of angry protesters in New Zealand banged on windows at the National Party's annual Christmas party on the second-storey balcony of the Auckland Grammar Old Boy's pavilion. Prime Minister John Key said the protests did not ruin the annual celebration with party members.

Around 30 members of the Auckland Auction Against Poverty (AAAP) peered in at Mr Key and other people in attendance, despite the presence of police. Other members of the organisation had formed a picket line at the gate entrance on Mountain Road in Epsom.

Mr Key told the reporters in an interview that he was unfazed by the protests. He said they were the same people who were also against deep sea oil drilling and changes in labour laws for the Hobbit movies.

The prime minister said the people who were protesting the National Party's Christmas party were there since "that's all they've got to do all day."

Police officers were in the scene to observe and control the protestors if needed. The venue of the annual function is overlooking Auckland Grammar's playing fields. The balcony can be accessed through floor to ceiling glass doors.

Sarah Thompson, a spokeswoman for AAAP, said they were protesting the job-creation policies and welfare reforms of the New Zealand government. Ms Thompson said the group wanted to send a message that the reforms and policies were not "okay." 

The police made no arrests and left the venue peacefully. Sue Bradford, a  former MP and Mana Party member said, AAAP was honouring the late Nelson Mandela by standing up for the rights for society's most vulnerable like the poor. 

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