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Dunne - 6 out of 10 not good enough

11 December 2008

Dunne - 6 out of 10 not good enough

A score of 6 out of 10 in UNICEF's report card on early childhood education and care should not be considered a pass mark for New Zealand families according to UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

"While in some areas we provide adequate provisions for young families, we fail to meet minimum standards in other important indicators."

"While our failure to meet the minimum standard for paid parental leave comes as no surprise, it reaffirms UnitedFuture's stance that that provision needs to be extended out to 12 months."

Combining 12 months paid parental leave with a move towards flexible working hours will give parents more time to spend with their children, a crucial factor to a positive start to a child's life."

"However, the most concerning aspects of the report card is New Zealand's failure to meet UNICEF's standards requiring less than 10% of children to be brought up in poverty, 1% of GDP to be spent on the provision of early childhood services, and the universal outreach of child healthcare."

"There are simple, effective measures that I believe can turn these rather disastrous results around."

"I remain a firm believer in UnitedFuture's policy to introduce one-stop family service centre's."

"A one-stop family service centre would offer parents information on educational and healthcare opportunities that exist for both them and their children. These centre's would provide services demanded by the community, such as:

* Early childhood health checks

* early childhood education and care options

* relationship counselling

* Working for Families entitlements, other benefit information and budget advice

* parent education opportunities and support."

"With unemployment on the rise and families struggling to make ends meet this Government must commit to tackling the hardship facing our young families before it is too late."

"We need to ask ourselves whether spending millions of dollars on 'three-strikes-your-out', ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff type policies are really the way forward. Surely, where the Government can have the most positive impact is to invest in young New Zealand families."

"By providing young families with the best possible support we will not only rise up the international league tables but will in turn strengthen our families, communities and ultimately our society." said Mr Dunne.

ENDS

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