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No room for complacency in report

8 May 2013: News from CPAG

No room for complacency in report

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has welcomed the release of Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers report. The report ranks New Zealand 17th among 176 countries for mothers. This rank takes account of risk of death at childbirth, under-5 mortality rates, years of schooling, income and participation in government.

CPAG spokesperson Janfrie Wakim says that although New Zealand is doing well by the standards of many countries, it is still well behind world leaders.

"The report emphasises the importance of investment in the early years. CPAG acknowledges the increased funding for rheumatic fever and other health initiatives, but many gaps remain. New Zealand has low levels of investment in children, particularly younger children. The key to improving outcomes for all children is better access to affordable housing and primary health services. We also need to be putting in services for mothers so they have good medical care and nutrition.

"The report talks about engaging mothers as stakeholders to enable them to make better choices. Under successive governments the emphasis has been on limiting the choices of many parents and getting sole mothers back into the workforce as early as possible without consideration of the child's needs," said Mrs Wakim. "Such an approach is short-sighted and often harmful."

CPAG say that although New Zealand does well, there is a risk that services for mothers and newborns will be cut as the government tries to reach a surplus. However, the report notes that services can be low-cost and effective.

"We must strive to ensure all New Zealand children have the opportunity to achieve, and make every effort to move up the rankings. We know good quality universal services are the key to good outcomes for children, and this is where our efforts should lie," added Mrs Wakim.


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