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Let's get more done for our children

Let's get more done for our children

Yes, we must do more to reduce child poverty, protect children from violence and improve educational performance for children says Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader endorsing the Action for Children and Youth in Aotearoa (ACYA) report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child being presented in Geneva on 12 June.

"Progressives want more action to contribute to healthy and fulfilling lives for our nations children and we will continue to work a part of the coalition government to this end," Matt Robson said.

ACYA's report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child supports current work by government but rightly pushes for much more to be done, especially on child poverty, reducing violence and improving educational outcomes for children.

"If political parties are serious about getting things done for children they need to be in government. This is not something you can stand on the sidelines and shout about. The Progressives are working within this coalition government to promote exactly the issues raised by ACYA in their report.

"There are clearly difficulties for the government in funding the big ticket items of improving social support for families. The Progressives would spend more now on policies to improve the living standards of children if we were a majority partner in government. However, we believe this coalition government is heading in the right direction and we are able to slowly advance child friendly policies by being in coalition.

"The big challenge to improve the living standards and opportunities available for children is to firstly create jobs so parents have good incomes and secondly to find reliable, long term funding to improve family support packages. I challenge all political parties supporting action on child poverty to front up and tell us how they are going to fund it in a reliable way in the long term.

"The best way to raise family incomes and increase money available to improve children's lives is to have a job rich, strong economy. We are doing this through proactive investment policies in economic development such as those implemented by Progressive Leader Jim Anderton as Minister of Economic Development.

"With more people in well paid jobs there is more money available to improve education programs, health programs and social programs to get things done for our children.

"It is illuminating to see how a strong economy could contribute to our social goals. A mere one per cent improvement in economic growth since 1970 could have delivered: $175 more per week for the average worker, $ 3.7 billion more for health*, representing a 50% increase in spending per capita, $ 4.2 billion more in education*, which represents $3,500 additional per student, * Assumes current ratio of expenditure to GDP in these areas. "If parties are serious about eliminating child poverty they must join us in facing up to the challenge of finding ways to improve the government's ability to fund the necessary programs. Pollution taxes and the like simply don't cut it," Matt Robson said.

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