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Save Our Young People From Themselves

Save Our Young People From Themselves

Devastating OECD figures on teenage birth, juvenile crime and youth suicide are a damning indictment of the failure of successive governments to face up to the destructive effects of increasing family breakdown, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The report has found that New Zealand's rates of juvenile crime, youth suicide and cannabis use are the highest in the developed world - with teenage birth the third highest behind the US and Britain. These are direct consequences of New Zealand being an OECD leader in sole parenthood, with up to 240,000 children living in families with only one parent," Dr Newman said.

"Yet in spite of these statistics, and research showing that children living with a single parent fail to do as well in all areas of life as children with two supportive parents, the Governtment is now implementing policies that will make the problem worse.

"Labour's relaxing of the rules for the DPB has resulted in Treasury forecasting more than 1,000 extra sole parent families each year. Refusing to introduce Shared Parenting - to ensure children whose parents separate retain the frequent and ongoing support of both their mother and father - means that many of those children will lose all effective contact with their non-custodial parent. These are the children who are vulnerable, and most at risk, of the poor outcomes identified in the OECD report.

"The only way to turn around such grim statistics for our young New Zealanders is to reform the DPB and introduce Shared Parenting - initiatives that ACT has advocated all along.

"The Government must start to treat the causes, rather than the symptoms, of what is an entrenched problem for New Zealand. Failure to do so will only prove that Mr Maharey and the Labour Government would rather spin facts and figures to suit themselves, rather than actually find a solution," Dr Newman said.

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