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Every Child Must Count This Election

Sunday 28 August 2005

Every Child Must Count This Election

Children must benefit from this general election if New Zealand is to move ahead, according to Every Child Counts spokesperson and long-time child-health campaigner, Dr Ian Hassall.

"In the last fortnight I have watched spellbound as huge sums of money are given in tax breaks while miserly amounts are provided to reduce the poverty that so many children have been brought up in and continue to be brought up in.

"This election the amounts being touted by politicians are large and seem to come from nowhere.

"I'm angry children have fallen behind with many now living in poverty. The problems resulting from violence towards children are huge. Children must be able to carry our society forward but they are being disabled from the beginning.

"There are all sorts of investment. You can invest in infrastructure, in the sharemarket, in buildings, in a myriad of things and I don't resent that. But, coupled with that, there needs to be investment in children.

"New Zealand was once innovative in implementing startling policies for their time, like the vote for women, land ownership reforms and universal pensions and more recently, family decision making and restorative justice.

"I've spent my whole career working to make children healthy, as a clinical paediatrician, then as Plunket's medical director, as the first Children's Commissioner and now in public policy.

"We have an educated population, a good communications system, and the means - if the current financial lolly scramble is to be believed - to make a change for children and for their future.

"I can't think of a time when voting for policies to ensure children have a credible future is more important than now," said Ian Hassall.

Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, Save the Children, Unicef NZ and AUT's Institute of Public Policy. It is supported by more that 325 other organisations and nearly five thousand individual supporters. It aims for a commitment from the incoming government to placing children and their families at the centre of their plans and decision-making processes.

ENDS

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