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Taking Best Start on the road

Taking Best Start on the road

Labour is taking its Best Start package to the people, with a series of community meetings planned around the country.

MPs Jacinda Ardern, Annette King, Chris Hipkins and Sue Moroney will be promoting Best Start in regional and metropolitan centres, starting in Christchurch later this month and winding up in Northland in June.

“There’s often a disconnect between Parliament and the communities politicians are elected to represent,” Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said.

“By taking it on the road we hope to talk to as many parents as we possibly can and answer any questions they may have.

She said today - Children’s Day - was a perfect time for all of us to reflect on how important kids are to the future of a country.

“Our Best Start policy is about giving every New Zealand child the opportunities they deserve right from the start.

“We know every family is unique, and that this package won’t solve everything. But we also know the first years of a child’s life are the most important and that $60 a week for the first 12 months will make a real difference for many Kiwi parents,” she said.

Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said Labour would also boost the number of hours of free early childhood education for three to five year olds - by five hours to 25 hours a week - and establish more ECE centres in high need areas to ensure there are enough places for kids who need them.

Best Start would also see around 26,000 families each year benefit from a plan to extend paid parental leave to six months, Sue Moroney, Social Development spokesperson and sponsor of a Bill to extend leave provisions said.

“That's a real commitment to supporting bonding and breastfeeding in those precious early months.”

Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King said Best Start also provided more options for new mums, something the Government had promised, but not delivered.

“Having a child changes your life. In today’s mobile world prospective new parents often don’t have the support they need. That support is crucial, even before baby is born.

“Labour will ensure new mums’ programmes will be available nationwide, along with access to free antenatal care. Well Child/Tamariki Ora visits will be extended so that those who most need help receive it.

“Our road trip is a chance for communities to get involved and give all our kids the best start in life,” Annette King said.

Ends

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