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Healthy Heads and Happy Hearts

10 July 2002

Progressive Coalition - policy

Youth policy package

Cornerstone commitments: To intervene early to keep kids healthy, safe in school and the home and equipped for adult life.

Summary of progressive targets for youth

The Progressive Coalition has made the introduction of Early Intervention programmes to stop today’s kids becoming tomorrow’s criminals a top priority for achievement in coalition with Labour - in the same way that Kiwibank, paid parental leave and economic development were in the first term of the Clark-Anderton Government.

This package applies the Early Intervention approach to health, employment, education and safety for all New Zealand children.

We will:

- Introduce free primary health care for all school children.

- Get all under 20 year old New Zealanders off the dole and into education or training

- Keep schools free of drugs.

- Institute a safe sex campaign to reduce STDs and teenage pregnancies

- Extend present health services in primary and secondary schools

- Increase funding for youth suicide prevention

- Review the recent liberalisation of alcohol availability.

- Take steps to reduce the harm caused by tobacco products.

- Introduce “One-Stop-Shops’ in all low-decile schools (police, social workers, and other professionals to be based on school premises)

- Expand existing programs like Project Early and Family Start to support high-risk families and kids getting into trouble.

Prevention is better than cure - Health

The ultimate goal of the Progressive Coalition is free primary health care for all New Zealanders. But we must move in realistic stages. Our first priority is to remove poverty as a barrier to primary health care.

We want to chip away at the cost of health care at each end of the population - for children and the elderly.

We will:

- Introduce free primary health care for all school children and then all superannuitants.

If we want to keep kids safe and well, we need to target them in schools and in the home.

We will increase funding for:

- Well Child care

- Immunisation programmes

- Plunket and Tipu Ora as essential promotional and preventative health services targeted at maintaining the good health of children.

We will:

- Extend present health services in primary schools and secondary schools, to provide a range of free health care and health education, preventive care and medical and dental services.

Prevention is better than cure - Kids are Kids

Kids are kids - we don’t want them to become teenage parents.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in the Western world. It is vital that we tackle this problem if we are to keep our teenagers healthy, and prevent a new generation of babies growing up in poverty and at risk of turning to crime.

The Progressive Coalition will

- Institute safe sex campaigns to reduce STDs and teenage pregnancy.

Prevention is better than cure - Youth Offending

If you want to stop crime, early intervention works best, costs less.

The Progressive Coalition has made the introduction of early intervention programmes to stop today’s kids becoming tomorrow’s criminals a top priority for achievement in coalition with Labour.

We will:

- Implement the About Time Report released by Minister of Corrections, Matt Robson last year.

- Continue to build on the pilots introduced by Matt Robson to get problem teens off the streets before they commit an imprisonable offence through the use of Day Reporting Centres.

- Introduce One-Stop-Shops in all 281 decile one schools at a cost of approximately $18.5 million.

One-Stop-Shops bring police, social workers, special needs teachers and health professionals under one roof on school premises. This way kids getting into trouble can be dealt with before they commit a serious offence.

We will:

- Expand existing successful (but too small) programmes like Project Early and Family Start to support high-risk new families (particularly teenage parents) and kids getting into trouble as young as five.

As outlined above, focusing on the reduction of teenage births is a priority.

Prevention is better than cure - Healthy Heads

Youth suicide is still too high. Any loss of a young life before their prime is a tragedy.

The Progressive Coalition will:

- Increase funding for youth suicide prevention by improving early intervention services.

- Expand self-development programmes for young people to create a sense of participation and belonging to communities.

Prevention is better than cure - Safe Kids

The Progressive Coalition is anti-drugs. We want parents to know that their kids are safe at school. And we want schools to get all the help they need to keep drugs away from kids.

We will:

- Target people who supply drugs to children and introduce special penalties for those supplying drug to kids.

- Trial alternative legal sanctions for people caught possessing certain drugs if they identify suppliers and enter a drug rehabilitation programme.

- Launch a drug-free publicity programme, and work with school principals to get drugs out of schools.

The Progressive Coalition will:

- Review the recent liberalisation of alcohol availability as part of a comprehensive strategy to deal with alcohol misuse.

- Seek further resources in educating children in the risks associated with alcohol.

- Tighten restrictions on alcohol advertising to ensure that excessive and underage drinking is not encouraged.

- Evaluate whether alcohol containers should carry health warnings.

We will also take steps to see that the harm and ill health caused by tobacco products and the burden then placed on the public health system are reduced through:

- Programmes that discourage cigarette and tobacco use, especially by young people.

Finally the Progressive Coalition is committed to exploring the establishment of:

- A free to air Youth Radio Network

It is important that young people not only have the opportunity to listen to the music of their choice, but also their own news, current affairs, comedy, drama and the views of their peers through talk-back.


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