Back to top anchor

Reducing child poverty

The Government is committed to reducing child poverty and improving the wellbeing of all children and young people.

Why it matters

New Zealand should be a place where all children and young people are loved, confident, happy and healthy, and are empowered to reach their full potential.

While most of our children and young people enjoy relatively high living standards, this isn’t the case for a significant proportion of them.

Too many children and young people live in families where it’s a struggle to meet every day needs and do things that others take for granted.

Evidence shows that the experience of poverty, especially when that experience is severe and persistent, adds a burden of stress on families and can have a negative impact on the lives of children. It can negatively affect children’s development and health, and can reduce their educational and life opportunities.  The harmful effects can last into adulthood and impact on society as a whole.

Improving the material wellbeing of households affected by poverty will have significant impact on their overall wellbeing and help unleash the skills and capabilities of our children, young people and their whānau.

Find out more about levels of child poverty in New Zealand 

Child Poverty Reduction and Wellbeing Legislation

Legislation, introduced by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, who is also the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, aims to help achieve a significant and sustained reduction in child poverty and to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in New Zealand.

The legislation, passed in December 2018 with near unanimous support, establishes an ongoing level of political accountability that we’ve never had before. It is a key lever in ensuring policy momentum endures through successive governments. 

Find out more about the legislation, including information releases 

Child poverty measures, targets and indicators

The Child Poverty Reduction Act requires current and future Governments to set three year and ten-year targets for reducing child poverty.

The Child Poverty Reduction Act requires current and future Governments to set three year and ten-year targets for reducing child poverty.  It also establishes a suite of measures that will track progress on reducing child poverty, and requires annual reporting on identified child poverty related indicators.

Regular reporting requirements provide a high level of transparency and accountability.

Find out more about the child poverty measures, targets and indicators, and the different reporting requirements.

Who we are

The work is being led by the Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group, which sits within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It consists of two units:

  • the Child Poverty Unit, which is supporting the implementation requirements of the child poverty legislation, and working with other agencies to help reduce child poverty
  • the Child Wellbeing Unit, which is leading the cross-agency development and implementation of the Strategy.

Find out more about the Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group.


Last updated: 
Friday, 22 April 2022

Help us improve DPMC

Your feedback is very important in helping us improve the DPMC website.