Tackling inflation “head on” is a fundamental step National would take to address the child poverty and the cost of living crisis, according to Christopher Luxon.
The National leader's comments come after the Cure Kids 2021 State of Child Health in Aotearoa New Zealand report, released on Wednesday morning, found the rates of dental disease, respiratory conditions, skin infections and rheumatic fever remained too high among children in the country compared to other developed nations.
The report said these negative health outcomes disproportionately affected children who were from low socio-economic backgrounds, Pasifika or Māori.
“We’ve got to take a step back and actually look at what’s going on in the economy at the moment," Luxon told Breakfast.
"The economy needs to be strong, we need to enlarge it, we need to make it bigger and better and that’s the way we are ultimately able to solve these long term challenges."
In April inflation leapt to 6.9%, the largest movement since June 1990.
He said using community organisations to tackle issues like child poverty can often be effective.
"You use community organisations that know the people, that have connections to the folk and they actually see the pain, the hurt the frustration and the needs."
"Where there is real need, the government may not be the best deliverer of that," Luxon said.
He cited the Covid-19 vaccination roll out in 2021.
"It wasn't until we started using Māori health organisations and community health organisations to deliver that actually knew how to connect with those communities."
Luxon said the Government needs to remove the "bottlenecks" in the economy and manage spending and budgets more efficiently.
"That's ultimately what we need to do, build a more productive economy, that's how we deliver higher incomes and wages to New Zealanders.
"If you're not removing bottlenecks in the economy and making it as productive as it can be and letting businesses who employ lots of people actually be able to grow their companies in the right way so they can drive higher wages and salaries, that's how it all works.
"So you've got to get those settings right around tackling inflation."
On Tuesday, the Finance Minister acknowledged things were tough. Grant Robertson said that was why the Government had put in place a range of support.