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Families need wide-ranging support: report

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

Single parents and older people are among Kiwis most likely to suffer from disadvantage, a new report into New Zealand families and whanau finds.

Having identified eight "life areas" important to a family's wellbeing, the annual report by government agency Superu, formerly the Families Commission, found 82 per cent of Kiwis live relatively free of disadvantage,

However, "a significant minority" of 18 per cent experienced disadvantage in three or more of the eight key life areas.

This included single parents with young children, who were most likely to be disadvantaged in three or more life areas, such as in their income levels and access to health and housing.

Just 12 per cent of single parents lived relatively free of any disadvantage.

Older couples were more likely to experience disadvantage in their access to health and education.

Superu deputy chief executive Vasantha Krishnan said the research showed many problems plaguing Kiwi families are interconnected.

"For example, we found that half of those with a housing disadvantage also had two or more [further] issues that they need support with," she said.

The series of Superu annual reports aim to provide "essential" background information to policy makers and say any steps to address disadvantage should be multi-faceted.

It says support programmes should be tailored to individual families and be designed to work with all family members as well as help strengthen their links to the community around them.

"Healthy individuals in healthy families are at the heart of a healthy society," the report stated.

With New Zealanders continuing to live longer, moves to build social networks around older couples were especially important, Ms Krishnan said.

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