Western Bay community organisations support recommendations made in a child poverty report presented to the Government this week but say they will not solve the problem.
Children's Commissioner Russell Wills appointed a panel of experts to provide the report on child poverty in New Zealand and steps that could be taken to deal with the issue.
Merivale Community Centre services manager John Fletcher said he was in broad agreement with the recommendations made in the report.
"In some ways some of the things in the report are addressing some of the symptoms but the cure is a different thing," he said.
"We are living in a society that's becoming increasingly inequitable ... all these things help but our problem is this growing gap between the rich and the poor in this country and while it's growing we will not see an effective solution."
The report suggested six immediate, low-cost priorities. One of which was to set up community hubs to deliver services.
Mr Fletcher said that was something the Merivale Community Centre was already doing with success.
Several organisations provided their services from the centre to give those in need access to all the assistance available. "We are part of a solution to that but you go back to inequity. Community centres can't do anything about that.
"That's a completely different national priority," he said.
"I'm confident that we are doing effective and beneficial work but we can't change the things that are actually going to make a difference."
The report's recommendation that all rental houses be issued with a warrant of fitness was met with support from several groups.
Mr Fletcher said substandard housing was a large issue in the Merivale community.
Many of the children that frequented the centre spent the entire winter unwell, he said.
"There are huge health problems that flow from inadequate housing.
"It's a huge priority, that sort of thing.
"It can save so much money in the long term," Mr Fletcher said.
Kidscan chief executive Julie Chapman agreed the report provided sensible short-term solutions but would not eliminate child poverty.
"As a starting point for immediate solutions the six recommendations are good recommendations. Then it's about getting into the longer-term solutions that are going to change the social fabric of New Zealand in the long term," Ms Chapman said.
Monitoring the standard of housing was a big step in the right direction, as was a recommendation that food-in-schools programmes be rolled out to every decile one-to-four school in the country, she said.
This year Kidscan provided food to 5500 children in low-decile schools around the country, including Arataki and Greerton Village schools in Tauranga.
Extending the programme was very achievable, she said.
"We know that there are at least another 11,000 [children] that could benefit from a roll-out of the food programme. We can meet the needs of the 11,000 children in a targeted way, for under $4million for a year," Ms Chapman said.
Do you think all rental housing should have a warrant of fitness?
Child Poverty Report - Immediate, low-cost recommendations
- Establish a warrant of fitness for all rental housing.
- Implement a collaborative food-in-schools programme.
- Support effective delivery of local services through community hubs.
- Support a public-private partnership micro-financing model to provide low-interest and zero-interest loans for families in need.
- Support young people who are pregnant and/or parenting to remain engaged in education.
- Pass on child support payments to sole parents on a State-provided benefit.