Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Speeches bring important focus onto children – UNICEF NZ

UNICEF New Zealand welcomes the ‘State of the Nation’ speeches delivered by National, Labour and the Greens for placing children at the centre of policy announcements early in this election year, but the charity is also stressing the need for greater cross-party agreement for NZ’s kids.

Deborah Morris-Travers, Advocacy Manager at UNICEF NZ, said “These first big speeches of the year are important for setting out political priorities and promoting new policy, so it’s good to see children, education and alleviating poverty are high on the agenda.

“However, while each party has made positive announcements what’s missing is any evidence of agreement between the parties that could form the basis of cross-party agreement on the key priorities, as recommended by child advocates and also the parliamentary Health Select Committee. A strong cross party approach has seen our senior citizens rate highly in the OECD tables, but a lack of consensus for our kids means that many are missing out on a healthy childhood.

“The National Party has picked up on the importance of school leadership and clustering schools to share best practice in education to support improved student achievement. The investment of $359m over four years is significant and has the potential to greatly improve educational practice in the interests of children.

“We welcome the announcements, which are supported by evidence showing professional development and school leadership to be essential. However, we encourage National to also consider expanding policies that build the social wellbeing and health of children, through income, housing and family learning and literacy.

“When parents continue learning and education becomes a strong focus in every home, children will be better prepared for school. Continuing education increases the likelihood of employment and builds parents’ connections to community, while also supporting their mental health. It’s also strongly beneficial for our country’s economic development.”

Ms Morris-Travers added, “Labour has made a bold announcement about increasing income to families with the youngest children, improving antenatal services and investing in early childhood education. These policies respond to the recommendation from the Experts Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty for a universal child payment and recognise the particular vulnerability of babies and families with very young children.

“Improved access to antenatal services is an essential part of improving the safety of babies because it links families into community services and support before baby is born. Accessible early childhood education for three and four year olds makes an important contribution to the social and educational development of the children, while also enabling parents to work.

“Making early childhood education available to vulnerable children under three is also positive, with evidence showing that children living in poverty and stress are those that benefit most from participation in early education. Labour’s focus on income, child health and education is welcome.

“The Greens have also made important policy announcements focused on bringing health and social services into the school environment, increasing access to out of school care and co-locating early childhood centres with schools. These are policies that deliver significant benefits to children in countries such as The Netherlands, where child wellbeing is much higher than it is in New Zealand.

“The Greens’ policy recognises that a child’s readiness to learn is affected by hunger and health, with schools playing an important role in social wellbeing, community development and support for parents. In the parts of New Zealand where these are already operating, there are demonstrable benefits to the wellbeing of children, parents and communities alike.

“We welcome the fact that National, Labour and the Greens have all made strong policy statements in the interests of children, signalling that kids will be firmly on the agenda this election year.

“However, we also encourage parties to work towards identifying the common ground that exists between them so that in the post-election period they can establish agreed priorities that can be advanced beyond the three-year electoral cycle.

“This will help avoid the haphazard approach to policies for children that has, in previous years, created significant uncertainty and led to positive initiatives not being sustained in the long-term,” concluded Ms Morris-Travers.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election