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Plunket Says Family Focus Is A Good Start

Media Release
27 May 2004

BUDGET 2004: PLUNKET SAYS FAMILY FOCUS IS A GOOD START

Plunket is welcoming the family focus evident in the Budget, but is cautious about whether enough would be done to reduce child poverty and support parents in the most important job in the world.

"The significant commitments to areas such as primary healthcare, early childhood education, and supporting families through the "Working for Families" package are positive developments, with laudable objectives," says Plunket president, Kaye Crowther.

"We welcome these and other initiatives such as home and community-based mentoring programmes by older people, family violence prevention and intervention programmes, an expansion of Family Start and a range of measures with a clear role for community organisations. Partnerships between government and community organisations will avoid the unnecessary duplication of effort.

"Ultimately, however, Plunket is most interested in how Budget measures will roll out in practice, and in the lives of the nation's families and children," says Mrs Crowther.

"Related to this, we note the Budget makes little direct reference to the extent to which a reduction in child poverty can be anticipated as a result of this package, with poverty being one of the single biggest contributors to poor health and wellbeing amongst the nation's children.

"We are also mindful of the need for all parents, including those on middle-incomes, to be engaged and supported in their responsibilities.

"This requires that they have links to support from families and communities, are aware of the developmental needs of their babies and have access to the best information about parenting techniques. We would welcome additional commitment in this area in the next Budget.

"There's no doubt the Budget's family focus is positive and we hope the trend towards further social investment continues, so support for all parents and the alleviation of child poverty can be comprehensively addressed," says Mrs Crowther.

ends

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