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Wellbeing of NZ's Kids and young people improving

17 September 2008 Media Statement

Wellbeing of New Zealand’s children and young people improving

The Minister of Social Development and Employment Ruth Dyson has welcomed the latest report that shows good progress has been achieved in improving results for children and young people across the social sector.

The Children and Young People: Indicators of Wellbeing in New Zealand was first released in 2004. The 2008 report released today shows how well our children and young people are doing, measured against a set of indicators.

"It is pleasing to see the progress made in improving the wellbeing of our children and young people in the last 20 years," said Ms Dyson.

Key improvements include:
- infant mortality has more than halved
- immunisation coverage at two years has improved substantially
- the child assault rate has reduced
- the rate of child deaths from unintentional injuries and from road deaths has reduced
- participation in early childhood education has increased
- the proportion of children in low income households has more than halved

"This result shows the positive effects of current Government policies, but we still have a great deal to achieve and since the last report in 2004, we have seen continual improvement with fewer young people smoking, improved internet access, increased educational achievement, and higher household incomes," said Ms Dyson.

Areas where New Zealand need to improve are:
- Infant mortality (even though levels have halved in NZ since 1988)
- Immunisation rates (improved in NZ since 1991/92 and now at 71%)
- Numbers of missing, decayed or filled teeth per child at age 12
- Male and female suicide rates (even though substantial drop since 1990s)
- Road deaths among 15-24 year olds

The Ministry of Youth Development will be submitting a report to the United Nations on our progress and compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). The Children and Young People: Indicators of Wellbeing in New Zealand 2008 report provides a strong source of information to inform the UNCROC report.

The Children and Young People: Indicators of Wellbeing in New Zealand 2008 report can be found at www.msd.govt.nz

ENDS

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