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Greens Release Children's Policy

9 September 2008

Greens Release Children's Policy on eve of major conference

The Green Party has released its Children's Policy for the 2008 election on the eve of the Every Child Counts Conference being held September 10 to 11 in Wellington.

"Like the organisations involved in the conference, the Green Party believes every child in New Zealand counts - or should count," Childrens Issues Spokesperson Sue Bradford said this morning.

"We look at all our policies, whether environmental, social or economic through the eyes of children in our call for a fairer future for all in the face of the impacts of climate change and peak oil. Our specific policies for children are comprehensive, but some key points include:

* Protecting the change achieved through amendments to s59 of the Crimes Act which removed the 'reasonable force' defence. This is particularly important given John Key's comments yesterday at the Family First Conference as reported in the Herald, that 'if National gained power it would consider reforming the anti-smacking law'.

* Government funding and support for public education about what the s59 law change really means, and more support for organisations providing education in alternatives to violence in bringing up children.

* Setting a goal by which Government commits to end child poverty in New Zealand - 2014 - with regular monitoring of progress towards achieving that goal.

* Introducing a Universal Child Benefit, like the old family benefit, with the ability for it to be capitalised towards a first family home.

* Imposing a legal duty on the public sector to ensure housing needs are met, including those of women and children - no child left homeless or in substandard or inadequate accommodation.

* Removing the discriminatory In Work payment which is part of Working for Families.

* Working to extend Paid Parental Leave for up to 13 months in line with recommendations from the Families Commission.

* Strengthening the human and civil rights of children, including through a major rewrite of our adoption laws, and ensuring the rights and safety of refugee and asylum seeker children.

* Providing better resourcing for the Office of the Children's Commissioner while continuing to support its critical advocacy role for children.

* Ensuring all our laws and policies work in the best interests of children.

The full policy is available at http://www.greens.org.nz/policy/children

ENDS

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