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It takes a child to raise a country!

Every Child Counts

Media release

16 June 2014

It takes a child to raise a country!

Every Child Counts joins with groups across the country to make children an election issue

Every Child Counts has joined with groups across the country to support the launch of a nation-wide campaign Tick for Kids that aims to make children an election issue.

“It makes you shudder when you consider some of our country’s child statistics” says Lisa Woods, Every Child Count’s Executive Officer.

“With 285,000 children living in poverty and up to 60 babies under the age of one dying each year from socio-economically sensitive conditions, it’s critical children’s issues are a priority”.

Investing in our children is vital - as the population grows older, we will be more dependent on today’s children and young people to pay taxes and keep our economy going.

However, in almost every sector our child statistics paint a worrying picture. In 1982 14% of children lived in poverty, today 27% of children live in poverty, and more than 10% of children are in the most severe poverty. We are seeing increases in serious illnesses associated with poverty, for example New Zealand has rheumatic fever at 14 times the OECD average. And in the education sector literacy continues to be a major issue. The average reading achievement score for New Zealand has not changed significantly over the past decade and there are large differences in reading achievement scores - 18% of Māori and 16% of Pasifika children are not achieving basic literacy and numeracy skills by age 10 compared to 4% of Non-Māori and Non-Pasifika children.

Every Child Counts is urging political parties to prioritise policies and programmes to address children's issues because it is both socially and economically right. In particular, Every Child Counts is urging each party to commit to the development of programmes to improve child literacy and the development of a child poverty action plan. While the enormity of child poverty is vast, the Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty provides us with a blueprint for eliminating child poverty.

Tick for Kids will be launched at 11.30am on Tuesday 17 June at Grey Lynn School in Auckland where children will quiz politicians about what they will do for children’s rights this election.

About Every Child Counts

Every Child Counts is a coalition of organisations working to improve the status and wellbeing of NZ children, driven by Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Mana Ririki.

About Tick for Kids

Tick for kids is supported by a range of organisations involved in improving life for New Zealand children. Together the campaign is calling for political parties to prioritise children’s access to quality health, housing, education and welfare to ensure every child has what they need to live a safe, happy and fulfilled life. More information on Tick for Kids can be found at www.tick4kids.org.nz

© Scoop Media

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