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Adams: Give our teens a purpose

Adams: Give our teens a purpose

Adults have got to take a long, hard look at the way they are treating young people if they want to see an improvement in youth suicide, crime and pregnancy figures, Paul Adams, United Future's youth affairs spokesman, said today.

"Society has got to face up to the fact that with the sort of figures we're being presented with, something is wrong with the way we are bringing up our young people," Mr Adams said, in response to the OECD report released yesterday.

The report showed that New Zealand has the highest suicide rates and level of juvenile crime in the developed world, and the third highest level of teen pregnancies.

"We need to instil purpose and a vision in our young people... they must have goals to aim for and be equipped with the skills with which to achieve those goals.

"That is a responsibility we, the adults of New Zealand, have to young Kiwis.

"We've got to take the time to get along beside them and say, 'hey, you can do this'," he said.

"Just look at the statistics: young people who are into sports, heavily involved in activities, and have goals to aim for are generally those who are not in trouble, not pregnant and not committing suicide.

"It's common sense and it is time we applied some of it to the way we nurture the next generation of New Zealanders."

Mr Adams said the Families Commission, a United Future initiative that will come into being in July next year, will play a positive role in creating an environment where families and communities are better able to help teens.

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