Our intentions: Examining the effectiveness of government arrangements to address child poverty

2 October 2023: We’re carrying out a performance audit that will look at the effectiveness of government arrangements to address child poverty.

In New Zealand, a significant percentage of children live in households where meeting everyday needs is a struggle. Child poverty has a detrimental effect not only on the individual children and their families and whānau but on society as a whole.

In 2022, we surveyed the public about potential topics we could focus on in our work and there was interest in us looking at how effectively the government is tackling child poverty.

Reducing child poverty is a priority for the government. The Child Poverty Reduction Act was passed in 2018. It establishes 10 child poverty outcome measures that must be tracked to ensure political accountability for addressing child poverty. Ongoing attention is needed to reach the legislative targets for reducing child poverty.

Achieving the targets for reducing child poverty requires effective plans. It also requires the public sector to be working together to support the plans – with clear roles, accountabilities, and monitoring and reporting of progress.

What we’re focusing on

Our focus for this audit will be on the effectiveness of government arrangements to reduce child poverty and inequities.

We will look at governance, management, and monitoring and reporting arrangements. We will examine whether these arrangements are effective.

Given the higher rates of child poverty amongst Māori, Pasifika, and people with disabilities, we will also look at how well government agencies are engaging with these groups and children and young people to inform their plans and actions. We want to understand what is working well and where opportunities lie to make improvements.

The difference we expect to make

We hope to increase Parliament and the public’s understanding of the arrangements in place to address child poverty and identify where they could be strengthened.

Our work will result in a report to Parliament, which we will publish on our website. We expect to complete this work in the second half of 2024.

Please use the feedback form on the right if you’d like to speak to a staff member about this performance audit, make a suggestion, or ask a question.