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Former Commissioner to address Child Summit

28 June 2005

Media advisory

Former Commissioner to address Child Summit

Dr Ian Hassall of Auckland University of Technology, a former Commissioner for Children and a member of Every Child Counts, will address a Child Summit convened by the Parentline Charitable Trust, at 11am on Wednesday 29 June. (subs: Venue is Westpactrust Central Court, Hamilton Gardens, Cobham Drive, Hamilton)

Dr Hassall says, “In recent general election campaigns the condition of children and their families has featured but interest has been sporadic, unfocused and too easily diverted into side issues.

“In the past, appeals for policies favourable to children have been based on sentiment toward children and social justice and rights arguments. These are legitimate and have not been abandoned but they do not in themselves bring children into the central themes of pre-election debate which are New Zealand’s prosperity and place in the world and how individual people contribute to and benefit from them.

“Our aim is to show that consideration of children not only belongs in this arena but is of crucial importance to social and economic development and the sustainability of our society. When we talked about children we meant all children. We could not afford to leave any one of them out of this consideration. Indeed, every child counts.”

In his speech to the Child Summit, Dr Hassall will address the priority issues of putting children at the centre of government policy; ensuring all children get a good start in life; ending child poverty; and reducing child abuse and neglect. This speech will be followed by a political panel involving eight Members of Parliament.

He says, “It is sometimes said that ill-treatment of children by some parents is a fact of human nature in every society and nothing much can be done to prevent it. The differences in prevalence between countries give the lie to this idea. There is a group of five countries, Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Norway which consistently have only a quarter the ill-treatment deaths that New Zealand does. If New Zealand was as good as them we would have 3 children killed by their parents and other caregivers each year instead of 12.”

Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef NZ and AUT’s Institute of Public Policy, supported by more than 290 other organisations and thousands of individual supporters. The public are invited to demonstrate their support for the nation’s children by adding their names to the Every Child Counts campaign at: www.everychildcounts.org.nz

ENDS

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