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Bring focus on children before election

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release – 3 March, 2008

Bring cross-party focus on issues affecting children together before the Election

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) supports the call, made yesterday on Children’s Day Te Rā O Te Tamariki, for issues and policies that affect children to be discussed at a cross-party level.

“We have consistently advocated for there to be more political and inter-agency cooperation in Aotearoa New Zealand to ensure that the vision that children be treasured by all can be achieved,” says NZCCSS President, Ross Kendrew.

“The statement from Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson that there should be a co-operative group to work together to advance the interests of children is too important, however, to park until after this year’s election”.

“We believe that, in principle, every day should be regarded as Children’s Day and that the way to ensure political co-operation over children’s issues is to bring a cross-party focus together immediately rather than after the election, as suggested yesterday”.

“These issues should be big enough to transcend party politics. The New Zealand public should be in a position going into the election where they know more about the commitment of parties across the MMP spectrum to consistent and sustainable policies for children,” says NZCCSS Vice President Shaun Robinson.

“Children’s Day is a good prompt for motivating New Zealand society at all levels to appreciate and support children. However we know there is a less positive aspect to everyday life for many children in this country and that as many as one in four are living in poverty.

“Experience tells us that leaving a call for more action until after the election leads to a risk that politicians will not give these issues the priority they deserve. We would urge all parties to respond to the need for a cross-party focus on issues affecting children this year, not next year”.

ENDS

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