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Spotlight on poverty 3.48 MB

In the 1930s, the founders of the welfare state in New Zealand envisioned a country – and a world – where all citizens would not only be free of abject poverty, but also where relative poverty would be greatly reduced. In such a world, every person, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or occupation, would be able to participate fully in their society and have a sense of inclusion and belonging.

This vision has yet to be realised. Globally, despite substantial economic growth over much of the post World War II era, significant abject poverty remains within many low-income countries. In New Zealand, the available evidence suggests that significant rates of relative poverty exist, although these have varied over time depending on policy settings and economic conditions. The evidence also suggests that certain groups have suffered disproportionately. These include families with children, Māori, Pacific peoples, those receiving social assistance, and those with disabilities.

This paper explores the nature of poverty, how it is measured, why it matters, and what can be done to reduce it – ensuring a fairer future for all New Zealanders.

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