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Sept 2004 e-news from Parents Centres New Zealand

Mon, 13 Sep 2004

Sept 2004 The Ministry of Parents
e-news from Parents Centres New Zealand Inc - #10

1.. Parents Centres NZ Inc gets it together. 2.. Manifesting ideas. 3.. Equal Employment Opportunities - awarding the vanuguard. 4.. Bringing home the gold. 5.. Civil union and destiny's children. 6.. The social report - must try harder. 7.. Human rights and wrongs - more reporting. 8.. World Bank happier than a child in a ghetto. 9.. Prescribing drug habits. 10.. Infant formula - the sad facts. 11.. The Charities Bill - the bureaucrats banquet. 12.. Who loves who the most? 13.. Child care - a social priority. 14.. Road safety - brain engagement.
1. Parents Centres NZ Inc gets it together.

Parents Centres NZ Inc's annual conference is happening in New Plymouth between Saturday 18 and Monday 20 September. Keynote speakers include, Mark Sorenson, Dick Hubbard, and Sue Kedgley. There will also be presentations on parenting alone, teenage parents, breastfeeding, immunisation, homeopathy, brain development, recreation, and other stuff.
Be there - have fun, be informed, and network with people who care about parenting. Further enquires

2. Manifesting ideas.

Parents Centes NZ Inc. recently launched our first ever draft manifesto which is available on our website or as a hardcopy insert in Kiwiparent 201, available through local Parents Centres, some newsagents and pharmacists, birthing and maternity units, and many community organsiations, or by ordering a copy or subscribing to Kiwiparent by emailing
The manifesto represents over fifty years of remits, statements, submissions, and discussions and is intended to inspire and incite further discussion, action and policy on parenting issues. Your feedback is welcome and will be considered and incorporated in the feedback process.

3. Equal Employment Opportunities - awarding the vanguard

The annual EEO awards were a night of glamour, good food and short speeches, which may or may not have anything to do with the unscheduled fire alarm and evacuation, shortly after the PM arrived.
The awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge employers who are leading the charge in creating work/life balance and accommodating diversity in the workplace. Parents Centres NZ Inc were nominated in three categories and while we didn't bring home the bacon this time, we established a precedent for both the volunteer sector and for parents in the paid and unpaid workforce.
Congratulations to all the winners, and to our fellow losers; knowing that its not who wins - but who ate the most chocolate that counts.

4. Bringing home the Gold.

However, when winning does count isn't gold great? Congratulations to our Olympic medal winners and the team spirit of our champions. And an extra pat on the back to the parents amongst them. Hamish Carter, Barbara Kendall, Sonya Waddell, (and probably others) - and the families who support them. Then again, doesn't our pride include them all in our nationwide whanau,

5. Civil Union and Destiny's children.

The perception of self righteous arrogance and brainwashed ignorance on display at Parliament last month as Destiny church members and their self-styled neo-fascist leaders marched on Parliament sent a chill down the spine of many on-lookers, and Civil Union Bill supporters.
The most disturbing feature being the expressions of hate on the faces and from the mouths of the children marching with the Civil Union opponents. It was a reminder that raising children to be tolerant and compassionate members of society does not include inciting them to hatred, and has nothing to do with the sexuality of their parents.
Cast a thought to the statistical probability that as many as 10% of the children who marched are likely to be homosexual and will want to live in a more tolerant community. It's up to the rest of us to ensure tolerance is the norm.

6. The Social report - must try harder.

NZ must work harder and pay more attention. Easily distracted, and unfocussed. Must identify own goals and own solutions. Following the pack is not a winning formula. Could do better.
The Ministry of Social Development Report suggests an overall failure, with some key areas presenting us in a very poor light.
Living standards for too many are too low; far too many children are abused or neglected; too many people (especially young men) are killing themselves and too many children are too fat and unfit. A successful economy means that children can grow into healthy and supported individuals. These social statistics echo our failings. The saddest fact is that none of this is new.

7. Human rights and wrongs - more reporting.

The domestic context of human rights is stated in Article 3 of the Treaty of Waitangi.
" Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects."
Maybe the reason successive Governments have ignored children's rights and child poverty for so long is because of the inherent inequalities experienced by said British subjects, particularly children. Many of the settlers left Britian as children, because of the inequalities, and yet Government after Government have been repeating the same error of judgement. Being equal isn't good enough - when being better, even best, is possible.

8. World Bank happier than a child in a ghetto.

At about the same time as the Human Rights Commission were reporting on our failure to respect the rights of all New Zealand children, the World Bank cheerfully declared that New Zealand is a great place to do business. In fact we are number one. Tell that to a child who hasn't had a decent feed or a loving hug.
Didn't we use to be a great place to raise a family? Now we're just a great place to do business.
The real challenge is to ensure these two realities are mutually supportive. Good business = happy children; where = is all inclusive and sustainable.

9. Child care - a social priority.

Disturbing research from Canterbury University reveals that 80% of the 91 children murdered between 1991 to 2000 were not known to child protection agencies. Almost two thirds were under five, 26% were under one. The children were murdered by their parents or another close relative. These children were under the radar of formal social agencies.
Supporting and educating parents in the community has got to be factored into our success profile, because caring for our children is also about social and economic priorities as much as it is about parent education and support. It is complex and requires comprehensive solutions and political determination.

10. Prescribing drug habits.

Why are so many New Zealand children on anti-depressants? At last count 25,000 prescriptions are dispensed each year for children and young people under 18. This represents a 60% increase since 1998. Sounds more like a quick fix and happy bank balance for the pharmaceutical industry, than a plan to enable our young people to develop coping strategies, through counselling and the development of emotional and physical fitness regimes.

11. Infant formula - the sad facts.

The sad fact of a child's death as the result of ill-prepared infant formula confirms the need to promote and accommodate breastfeeding as the best start for all babies, especially our most vulnerable charges i.e pre-term babies. Breastfeeding rates must increase if we are serious at improving child health. By 3 months only 57% of babies are breastfeed, the rest feed on mainly formula based cows milk. Rooming-in facilities should be provided for mothers of pre-term babies to encourage and facilitate exclusive breastfeeding.

12. Charities Bill - the bureaucrats banquet

One of the problems with democracy is administration, and this piece of legislation is a democratic nightmare. Regulating charities so that we beg according to the rules of economic decorum and regulatory regimes reeks of control freakery.
One of the fears in this hurried law is that the advocacy role of organsiations like Parents Centres NZ Inc. could be silenced while we beg. Yet our core business i.e. educating and supporting parents, also means that we have to follow the logic and advocate and lobby for a regime that supports and educates all parents as part of its modus operandi. If, however, all parents were supported through the capacity building initiatives of organisations like Parents Centres we wouldn't need to advocate for a shift in the paradigm of social and economic thinking - 'cause we'd be living it.

12. Who loves who the most?

A new report from by the Director of NYU's Centre for Advanced Social Science Research, reveals that while parents often say they love their children equally, there is widespread recognition of a 'golden child' which golden children themselves recognise. The research also suggests many families create inequalities by generalising about their children and creating an impression to which others respond. The study further confirms that birth order for families with three or more children has a significant impact on life outcomes; middle children get the raw deal most often.
In a nutshell, the lesson is about developing quality meaningful relationships with each of our children. [Conley, Dr Dalton; The Pecking Order, 2004].

14. Road safety - brain engagement.

The key to safe driving is not the one that turns the engine, it's the thought that understands conditions. Speed, skill (including driver alertness), passenger and vehicle safety, weather and road conditions all factor into how well we drive and respond to road risk. Be alert and think safe.

This newsletter is produced by the national office of Parents Centres NZ Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of all members, board, or staff. It is intended to promote thought anad discussion around parenting issues in New Zealand. To unsubscribe, reply and write 'unsubscribe' in the subject heading - comments and suggestions welcome.


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