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Prime Minister Outlines Top 10 Issues For Parents

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley called for Pacific Island parents to love and nurture their children by championing the "Top 10" issues which can make a dramatic difference to New Zealand's Pacific people.

Mrs Shipley laid out her Top 10 in a speech to the International Pacific Vision Conference in Auckland tonight.

"If this challenge is championed it will have a huge impact on the improved health and wellbeing of Pacific Island people.

"These are small things, that if done on a daily basis, will have huge benefits for our children in the future. They will create opportunity and limit the risks.

"They will unlock huge potential. They are my simple, but important, Top 10 and they're all achievable," Mrs Shipley said.

1. Get all children immunised when they are young. It's free.

2. Seek medical advice promptly and remember for your children it's free.

3. Teach your children to speak their own native tongue and to love their culture and their heritage so they know who they are.

4. Listen to them read. Read to them as often as you can. Take an interest in your children's education, find out what they're doing at school. Make sure they are attending class and doing their homework.

5. Encourage responsible sexual behaviour so every child is a wanted child and every pregnancy is a planned pregnancy.

6. Believe in the sanctity and innocence of childhood and make sure you protect your children accordingly. Abuse hurts and is never acceptable.

7. Raise your children in a smoke free environment, if possible.

8. Encourage children to limit junk food and cut down on fatty foods and salt.

9. Teach them that moderation is the key to drinking alcohol and teach them to drink safely.

10. Teach your children that violence is not the answer to settling disputes.

"I know for a fact that one of the most cherished things in the Pacific Island communities is the power and beauty of the spoken word.

"You even have your own speaking chiefs the wise orators who speak in a poetic language that paints a clear picture in the mind of the listener.

"It is my hope that all Pacific Island leaders and church and family leaders will pick up these Top 10 issues and, through leadership, make them your own," Mrs Shipley said.

The Prime Minister's Top 10 issues are equally applicable to other New Zealand families to address in their way and she encourages them to do so.

She also stated clearly that New Zealanders must not ask Government to do what the community is unwilling to do for itself.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the negative findings of a recent report on the social and economic status of Pacific Islanders and assured the Pacific Island community Government agencies and community groups must work together to close the gaps and improve the statistics.

She also highlighted the positive trends. "According to the report, increasing numbers of Pacific business people are using their creative and entrepreneurial skills to open up new markets and ventures. This is reflected in the vibrancy of Pacific arts, fashion and youth cultures.

"I believe the report represents the beginning of a brighter future for Pacific people. Its findings should be fed into this conference so we can develop a strategy to lift Pacific people to great heights of success."

Mrs Shipley congratulated the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs for providing leadership and creating a Pacific Vision for the future, at a time when the public service was being criticised.

"That vision will greatly benefit Pacific Island New Zealanders," the Prime Minister said.

ENDS


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