Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Teenagers Deserve Better

Teenagers Deserve Better

Friday 20th Oct 2000 Donna Awatere Huata Article -- Education

School prize-givings are around the corner and yet again I’m dusting off my “Don’t you dare have a baby” speech.

The catalyst for this speech came from a principal’s letter telling me about a teen pregnancy epidemic at his school. He asked me to come and speak to his fourth and fifth form students and paint a picture of all the amazing opportunities the world offers.

I was to motivate them to give sex a miss and concentrate on their brilliant careers. Two pregnant girls would be in the assembly that I had been asked to address, plus one girl who had just had her baby and would have to finish her exams later that year.

My attempt to inspire the students to greater things, resulted in the Board of Trustees passing a resolution banning me from the school.

It’s exactly this head-in-the-sand attitude that had led to a pregnancy outbreak at that school in the first place. What the Board of Trustees should have done was grab hold of the teen pregnancy issue and start a conversation in their school community. They needed to find out what was so wrong, that students felt they needed to have babies, and begin to put it right.

I believe adults must take responsibility for solving the teenage pregnancy problem. Not just leave it in the hands of the young people themselves.

When parents, and adults involved with teenagers, pretend the teen-pregnancy issue is non-existent the results can be devastating. Ignoring the issue only shapes and nurtures teenagers even more to have babies.

Parents must talk to their children about sex. They need to be frank and open. Recurring conversations should cover the boundaries, the rules of whom their children spend their time with, when and what they are doing. And parents need to be able to monitor their children’s relationships.

Since the bulk of teenage pregnancies involve young women having relationships with older boys or men, parents need to be vigilant in this regard.

Especially Maori parents. In Hawkes Bay 75% of Maori fourth formers reported having sex, compared to 27% of the rest of the population.

Speaking tours such as mine probably don’t achieve much (in fact since I started the Maori rate of teenage pregnancies increased from four to five times higher). But the silence concerning teenage pregnancy is scary. Unfortunately, New Zealand has the third highest teen birth rate in the OECD.

Women’s Refuge has applied for Government funding so they can tackle the home violence prevention. They have decided to move from being the solution of last resort, and are now focused on healing families and teaching communication and budgetary skills to parents. They want to break the cycle.

I believe their work should be extended, so parents are taught how communicate with their children. Parents must be taught to be vigilant and prevent their children ever becoming teenage parents, if their children are to have every opportunity for a successful life.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages