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New Zealand Is Failing Our Grandchildren

"New Zealand is failing not only the coming generation but the one after that" Dr Gay Keating, director of the Public Health Association, said today. The recent report from UNICEF called "A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations" shows that New Zealand has third highest rate of births to teenagers, and the third highest rate of births to teenagers aged 15-17 years in the rich world.

"We've got to give our children a fair chance. No baby should grow up in poverty, sickness and ignorance. But they probably will. The Family Support benefit gets less each year because the Government has not indexed it for inflation, and recent research shows that the families with the least income are the sickest families in the country. Our immunisation system remains appalling. How can you expect a 17 year old girl with no qualifications to raise a healthy knowledge worker for a high-performing-economy in that environment?"

"These children-getting -pregnant will find itdifficult to get training and almost impossible to get employment. They will find it hard going to raise their infant healthy, happy and well educated. All the New Zealand data shows that most of these mothers -and the fathers - have not been in sucessful schools. Thus we have failed those teenage parents, and now we are heading to fail their babies as well. "

"We need to follow the guidance of UNICEF. We Kiwi adults need to create a society that prepares young people for adulthood, includes our children and young people, and give them a real reason for hope. Let's not fail the grandchildren the way we've failed today's children" said Dr Keating.

The Public Health Association of New Zealand is a non-party political voluntary association, which provides a major forum for the exchange of information and stimulation of debate about public health in New Zealand.

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