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Collaborate for kids - challenge to politicians

23 August 2005


For immediate use

Collaborate for the sake of kids – Barnardos challenges politicians

Barnardos New Zealand challenges all political parties to work together to improve the lives of children in New Zealand, following an Every Child Counts political forum, held in Wellington today.

“The Every Child Counts forum was significant because it gave child sector practitioners, volunteers and members of the public the chance to hear politicians and candidates from the eight main parties outline their policies on children,” said Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos, who chaired the forum.

“While there was broad consensus across the meeting in support of the goals of Every Child Counts, the parties talked past each other when it came to how change should be effected.”

“On the one hand Labour, supported by the Greens and some other minor parties, has taken some specific initiatives to improve conditions for children in families. Others, such as National and Act, believed conditions for children would be largely improved by unshackling the economy.”

Both positions are partially effective but are not in themselves complete. While the politicians engage in pre-election point-scoring, a shocking number of children in New Zealand don’t get the good start in life to which they are entitled,” he continued.

“If we are really serious about improving the lives of all children in New Zealand then our politicians should seek a multi-party agreement to do so and develop a national plan to achieve it by an agreed date.”

“Any such agreement should consider the pledges on the Every Child Counts Election Challenge Card launched today:

- Place children first in government planning.

- Ensure every child gets a good early start.

- Reduce child abuse and family violence.

- End child poverty.

- Act on these pledges.


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