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UN Families Day – Let's Get Serious

15 May 2008

UN Families Day – Let's Get Serious About Our Families

United Nations Day of the Family (15 May) is the perfect time to focus on how we can better support Kiwi families – and help our kids reach their full potential.

Members of ComVoices, an independent coalition of Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector organisations, say New Zealand needs to recognise the potential in Kiwi families by looking to improve such issues as social service provision, housing and addressing levels of poverty.

The United Nations International Day of the Family (Families Day) was launched in 1993 to raise awareness of issues facing families and promote the importance of the family unit.

Tina Reid, Executive Director of the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare says the Day of a Family is a great time to celebrate family in all its forms – but to also think about what we are doing as a nation to nurture our families.

"Our challenge to all New Zealanders today is to think about the society we want to have and not take the status quo as a given," says Tina.

Petra van den Munckhof, National Coordinator of Healthcare Aotearoa says a recent report Left Behind: How social and income inequalities damage New Zealand children shows family care responsibilities, especially where grandparents or whanau/ extended family are primary caregivers, can make people more vulnerable to poverty, and this was of concern.

"Caregivers of children can't always work, and those on New Zealand Superannuation get very little from the Government's Working for Families programme unless they are able to work the hours required. Children being raised by grandparents or whanau are suffering".

Jo Lake, National Executive Officer of Presbyterian Support New Zealand says there are huge benefits to all New Zealanders in making social sustainability a priority.

"It will ensure New Zealand families and communities can be stronger and healthier. That's good for everyone."


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