20 Jul 2016

Nearly half of NZ Pacific young people living in poverty

1:59 pm on 20 July 2016

Researchers have found nearly half of Pacific secondary school students in New Zealand are living in poverty.

They used data from a study of 8500 students done in 2012 and found major ethnic inequalities among the number of young people found to be living in poverty.

Overall one in five young people were found to be suffering hardship and two thirds of that group had housing issues such as living in garages or using living rooms as bedrooms.

One of the study's authors, Terry Flemming, said the government needs to do more.

"Absolutely without a doubt. So this highlights that it's two things - it's poverty, that's a problem, but also inequality in itself is incredibly harmful and incredibly toxic. So yes, it requres systematic policies to reduce poverty and also inequality in New Zealand."

Dr Flemming said depressive symptoms and cigarette smoking were two to three times higher among the poverty group, compared to students not experiencing poverty.