Government needs ‘genuine’ poverty plan to get National’s support


Opposition leader Bill English says he won't be joining the conversation about child poverty until the Government "shows that it's serious".

Bill English joins The AM Show to discuss the Jacinda Ardern’s plans for child poverty legislation.

"If they're going to have child poverty reduction targets, the Government has to show how they're actually going to achieve them,” he says. “Otherwise you're just fooling people.”

Ms Ardern, also Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, is expected to reveal legislation requiring the Government to set targets for reducing child poverty.

"We'll put the requirements to set targets in law, but not the targets themselves," she told The AM Show on Monday.

"My view is we will not get a long-standing solution to issues like child poverty and like climate change, until we can get over the three-yearly political cycle."

Mr English says he accepts the plan could have the immediate effect of reducing poverty numbers by up to 60,000, but says progress will fall flat after that.

"There is no indication they've got a plan at all. So putting legislation targets will look a bit cynical when there's actually no plan."

However, the Opposition leader is willing to support the Government if their plans become realistic.

We would come on board if there are some genuine plans to reduce child poverty.

A report released last week found small reductions in child poverty between 2015 and 2016, prior to the former Government's benefit increases.

Watch the full interview with Bill English above. 

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.