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Greens call for 'multi-party accord' for children

19 April, 2005

Greens call for 'multi-party accord' for children

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald called for a multi-party accord to end child poverty by 2010 at the launch of the 'Every Child Counts' campaign in Auckland today.

The 'Every Child Counts' campaign is backed by Barnardos, Unicef, Save the Children, Plunket and AUT's Institute of Public Policy. Auckland Green MP Keith Locke was also at the launch at Butterfly Creek.

"We have to stop treating children as political footballs," said Mr Donald.

"The Greens back the 'Every Child Counts' campaign 100 percent and applaud its call for children to be at the centre of the election policy debate. This significant coalition of social service agencies is right to call on political parties to give children the same attention as the 'grey' vote.

"The 1990s Superannuation Accord sought to find common ground amongst political parties so that the needs of a vulnerable group of New Zealanders were not subject to the uncertainty of the electoral auction.

"The Greens believe that children need a similar commitment and that the elderly would be significant benefactors of such a move.

"The best security in old age is policy that ensures that our children grow up to be healthy, productive citizens. It is they who will create the nation's wealth in future and the goods and services we will all need in retirement. It is morally indefensible for any child to be denied a start in life." The Greens' Children's Issues Spokesperson Sue Bradford said the Party is particularly concerned by the implicit discrimination in the Government's Working for Families package.

"To truly address the issue of child poverty, policy should be centred around children themselves, not where their families get their income. To punish a child because their family receives a benefit rather than a wage is simply unfair. The Greens are currently the only Party that is making a stand for a universal child benefit, which would address this disparity and get rid of all, not just some, child poverty."

"More attention also needs to be given to housing, which is a critical factor in poor outcomes for children."

Sue Bradford has a private member's bill in the ballot that would repeal Section 59, which allows corporal punishment of children. "Eliminating child poverty is the best way to reduce violence against children, but removing the remaining legal defence for such abuse is also essential," said Ms Bradford.

The Green Party's detailed Children's Issues policy - 'Every Child Matters' - can be found at www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/policy5341.html.


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