Reports and Projects

Telling a new story about "child poverty" in New Zealand

BY Jess Berentson-Shaw

This is a report for those who are interested in, research, and talk about policy solutions for child poverty. Often experts with evidence about what works and doesn't work in the child poverty policy space feel that presenting their evidence should lead to policy change, or changes in public attitudes. This often isn't the case. Telling a new story about "child poverty" in New Zealand explores common core stories or cultural narratives about child poverty. The report discusses why these stories and narratives may hamper efforts to convince the public and policy makers to accept expert solutions. Importantly, the report highlights the double burden our stories can create for children and parents living without enough.

The key purpose of the report is to help construct narratives that are more effective in promoting policy change. The report presents alternative frames and stories to tell, ones that will help the public and policy makers act on the expert solutions that are needed to ensure all children and families thrive. It is written as a resource for those working in child poverty research and policy.

In Telling a new story about "child poverty" in New Zealand, Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explores the ways that framing can help or hinder the public’s engagement with policy evidence on child poverty. This report expands upon themes from her recent book, A Matter of Fact: Talking Truth in a Post-Truth World; however, it shifts the focus onto how policy experts can more effectively communicate their findings and recommendations by embedding them into more meaningful stories and narratives.

Hear Jess discuss her work on science communication on RNZ’s Nine to Noon here.

Jess has written a short-form Briefing Paper based on the report, which includes the useful strategies for talking about child poverty. It can be found here

The Stream

The Stream

Two diagrams by The Workshop are available as separate documents (Click on each image to download the full size). Readers are welcome to reproduce these under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license: feel free to use them, but acknowledge the author.

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