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Welfare Of Kiwi Kids Under The Microscope


Sunday 19 November, 2011

Welfare Of Kiwi Kids Under The Microscope In Bryan Bruce Documentary On Child Poverty

Award-winning film maker Bryan Bruce turns his attention to the welfare of New Zealand children in his latest documentary Inside New Zealand: Inside Child Poverty - A Special Report (Tuesday, November 22nd at 7:30pm on TV3).

On the eve of the 2011 General Election, Bruce examines almost 100 years of child welfare in New Zealand, across the political spectrum, revealing how child health in New Zealand has deteriorated in recent years, and offering solutions as to what we can do about it.

Bruce says child wellbeing is not a political question, but rather an ethical and moral problem whose solutions lie across party lines. His research reveals confronting statistics.

“150 babies died in New Zealand last year who might well be alive if they had been born in Sweden, Japan or even the Czech Republic,“ Bruce explains in the documentary, as he begins a journey which takes viewers behind the scene of poverty in New Zealand .

He meets the teachers feeding our hungry kids, the doctors trying to repair children with holes in their lungs from living in cold mouldy houses, and travels to Sweden to understand why their kids are doing so well and our aren’t.

“What I discovered in Sweden is that we can have a FAIR market economy – one in which people can still get rich but not at the expense of our children’s health.”

“The Swedes know what we do not – that for every dollar you spend in prevention you can save $4 in cure,” Bruce explains.

“We have got it all wrong. We need to get the health resources including food directly to our kids through the schools. That’s what makes Sweden No 2 in the OECD for child wellbeing. I’m sure we can do the same with the available money”

Ministry of Health figures released to Bruce show that 24,588 surgical procedures were performed on children under 14 last year at a cost of 142 million dollars. If half of these were preventable, the $71 million saved could pay for EVERY child under 14 to see a GP four times a year. (Based on $20 a GP visit.)

“The money’s already there. We just have to spend smarter,” he says. “A nation with poor children is a poor excuse for a nation.”

The solutions may just be in this powerful, not to be missed, documentary.

(Bruce who has an MA in Philosophy and Sociology from Canterbury added the 2011 AFTA award for Best Documentary to his list of documentary awards)

- ends –

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