Poverty has become an increasingly significant issue in New Zealand over the last two decades. Poverty is heavily concentrated among children, single adults, and a range of disadvantaged social groups. Government support has been weakened and there is increasing involvement of social services and charities in responding to poverty.


Understood relatively, poverty in New Zealand is measured in two ways, through income levels and through living standards, with poverty rates of 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively. First, using an equivalence scale (adjusting income for household size and age of residents), poverty is defined as those whose income falls below a proportion of the median (50 percent and 60 percent), and is reported both before and after housing costs. Before- and after-housing-cost measures are used because ...

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