6 Nov 2011

Parties urged to address poverty

11:38 am on 6 November 2011

Social service providers are warning that poor young people are becoming angry and despairing as poverty in New Zealand gets worse.

They are urging political parties and voters to put poverty at the top of the agenda during the election campaign.

About 200,000 children live in poverty and there are few signs that life for them is getting better.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson deals with needy families on a daily basis and believes poverty is getting worse.

A couple of years ago the City Mission helped 7000 families, and last year it helped 9000.

The president of the Council of Christian Social Services, Ruby Duncan, says increasing numbers of young people are trapped in poverty - and they're angry.

"They feel hard done by. They see other people who don't live that far away who have stuff that they can never have and will get the jobs that they can never get.

"They are angry, they are despairing - and that is not a good formula."

The chairperson of Te Kahui Mana Ririki, Hone Kaa, describes poverty, particularly within Maori and Pacific communities, as a ticking time bomb.