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Start Judging Family Size Any Time You Like, PM

Media Statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Turner: Start judging family size any time you like, Prime Minister

Prime Minister Helen Clark needs to start making a judgment on how many children New Zealand families are having and she needs to start doing it now, United Future deputy leader Judy Turner said today.

"Our birth-rate has fallen to 1.9 children per family, well below the replacement rate of 2.1. We need to take population issues seriously. What we don't need are cute answers of the 'I wouldn't dream of interfering ...' variety," Mrs Turner said after Miss Clark distanced herself from the issue in Parliament.

"If Miss Clark can't see a link between the lack of real support for families in this country and those figures, then we have serious cause for concern," Mrs Turner said after the Prime Minister's recent calls for more women in the workforce and more children in childcare.

Mrs Turner said she was concerned that the Prime Minister was citing Scandinavian models of childcare and women in the workforce.

"That's just fine if you're only concern is OECD statistics and economic indicators.

"It falls well short of the mark if you bring in the welfare of children, the health of families, real choice on parenting and a population that is sustaining itself or growing.

"Sweden has a birth-rate of 1.5 children per family. If that is going to be the result for New Zealand of Helen Clark not making judgments, then the sooner she starts the better," she said.


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