Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


UNICEF – Comparing Child Wellbeing across Rich Countries

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)
Press release
Wednesday 10 April, 2013


New UNICEF Report – Comparing Child Wellbeing across Rich Countries

A new UNICEF report launched today, which looks at the state of children in the world’s most advanced economies, shows that a great deal more could be done to improve child wellbeing in New Zealand.

Report Card 11, the latest in the series from UNICEF’s Innocenti Office of Research, also highlights that government policy is significant across the industrialised world in determining many aspects of child wellbeing, with some countries doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children.

The comparative data for New Zealand shows we are:

• Ranked 32 out of 34 countries for young people who are not in any form of education, training or employment (NEETS)
• Ranked 21 out of 35 countries for levels of child poverty, above Italy and Canada but below the UK and Australia.
• Ranked 25 out of 34 countries for young people (aged 15-19 years) who are participating in higher education, ahead of Australia and the UK but below Spain and Greece.
• Ranked 24 out of 35 countries for general homicide (deaths per 100,000) which has an impact on children’s safety and development. Australia, the UK and most European countries have fewer homicides per 100,000 than New Zealand.
• Ranked 25 out of 35 countries for child health and safety (includes infant mortality and low birth weight, national immunization levels and death rate of children and young people).
Barbara Lambourn, National Advocacy Manager at UNICEF New Zealand, commented, “Report Card 11 uses the most recent internationally comparative data available and, although this means most information is from 2009-2010, we believe the strength of these international comparisons is in helping show overall patterns and high level findings on what countries are achieving for children.

“It’s clear from the comparisons where New Zealand is measured, that there is much progress yet to be made on the wellbeing of our youngest citizens. The report makes it clear that the costs of not safeguarding child wellbeing are a burden to the whole of society – not just for children growing up in poverty or deprivation.

“As the report shows, a country’s GDP is not strongly related to children’s wellbeing. A government’s choice to have policies which enhance and support child wellbeing is much more significant.

“Failing to assist all children to develop to their full potential also imposes significant costs on businesses and economies with fewer skilled people able to enter the workforce,” said Ms Lambourn.

The report also shows what is achievable when governments commit to a plan of action to make children’s rights and wellbeing a priority. The country at the top of the overall table for child wellbeing is the Netherlands, with Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland placed next. The UK has also risen from the bottom of the table in 2007 (21 out of 21 countries) to mid-table (16 out of 29 countries). It introduced a Child Poverty Act in 2010, which has national targets and a national strategy for reducing poverty. Romania is at the bottom of the table. New Zealand does not feature in this overall rankings table for child wellbeing due to data requirements.

Ms Lambourn said, “It’s no surprise that the Netherlands comes out as the clear leader and is the only country ranked among the top five in all dimensions of child wellbeing. The Netherlands has a long standing political and social consensus about the importance of families and children, with universal support for the role of parenting.”

In New Zealand there is some positive news around the improvement of child immunisation rates, with 92% of children now fully immunised, up from 78% in 2007. In addition, Kiwi children up to the age of 15 also perform well in educational achievement in reading, maths, science and literacy - in the report we rank 4 out of 33 countries.

Ms Lambourn commented, “The improvement in New Zealand’s immunization rates and our high ranking in educational achievement are good news. Dr Nikki Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre, credits the improvement in immunization rates to the commitment of all levels of government and the setting of national targets.

“However, we know from our own data that much more needs to be done to ensure Maori and Pasifika children benefit from this increased priority for children. Similarly, in terms of education we are concerned about Maori and Pasifika children being left behind in a growing tail of educational underachievement.
Report Card 11 gives us much food for thought in terms of New Zealand’s ability to do its best for our youngest citizens. We look forward to the Government’s response to the Expert Advisory Group’s (EAG) report on Solutions to Child Poverty, which was presented to the Government in December 2012.

“The range of solutions offered in the EAG’s report, provide some hope that children will be a primary consideration in the May Budget. We would also like to see measures embedded in legislation to provide better support for children and families,” Ms Lambourn added.

“Progress of this kind will allow us to return to our former status as a child-centred and child-friendly nation, where every child can grow and reach their full potential. We look forward to when we can be regarded internationally as a nation that cares and enacts policies which are central to the wellbeing of children,” Ms Lambourn said
-Ends-
Notes to Editors
• Report Card 11 is the latest in a series of reports from UNICEF’s Innocenti Office of Research, designed to monitor and compare the performance of economically advanced countries in securing the rights of their children.
• To download the report go to: http://www.unicef-irc.org
• Barbara Lambourn and Dr Nikki Turner are available for interview.


About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.

The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.

UNICEF is a charity funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Every $1 donated to us is worth at least $10 in the field thanks to the way we work in partnership with governments, local NGOs and other partners - www.unicef.org.nz

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Professor Ian Shirley: The Budget That Failed Auckland

The 2016 budget offered Auckland nothing in the way of vision or hope and it continued the National Government’s threats against the Auckland Council. Threatening the Council with over-riding its democratic processes if it fails to release land for housing is a bullying tactic aimed at diverting attention away from the fundamental problems with housing in the region. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post Cab Presser: Budgets, Trusts And Pacific Diplomacy

Today Prime Minister John Key summarised last week’s budget and provided further detail about his upcoming trip to Fiji. He said that there has been “plenty going on” in the last couple of weeks and emphasised the need for Auckland council to facilitate more housing supply. More>>

ALSO:

Max Rashbrooke: A Failure Of Measurement: Inside The Budget Lock-Up

Shortly after the embargo lifted at 2pm news organisations started filing reports claiming that health, and to a lesser extent housing and education, were the ‘big winners’ out of the Budget. It failed to take into account the fact that in most cases the apparent increases were in fact cuts. Because of the twin effects of inflation and population. More>>

ALSO:

DOCtored Figures: Minister Clarifies DOC Budget

“Commentators have overlooked the fact $20.7m of that perceived shortfall is new funding for Battle for our Birds 2016, provided for in last week’s Budget...” DOC also has approval in principle to carry over a further $20m to 16/17 due to unexpected delays in a number of projects. More>>

ALSO:

For The Birds: Gordon Campbell On The Budget

Budgies, so their Wikipedia page says, are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, and ability to mimic human speech. Which is a reasonably good description of Finance Minister Bill English eighth Budget. . More>>

Max Rashbrooke On The 2016 Budget

The best label for this year’s announcement by Bill English might be the ‘Bare Minimum Budget’. It does the bare minimum to defuse potential political damage in a range of areas – homelessness and health are prime among them – but almost nothing to address the country’s most deep-rooted, systemic social problems. Indeed the Budget hints that these problems may get worse. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news