28th February 2012
All policy must pass the “Is it good for children?” test
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says all government decision-making and policy should be subject to the “is it good for children?” test.
NZEI’s submission to the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children calls on the government to consider the development and resourcing of an effective legislated action plan to benefit all New Zealand children and help those at risk of abuse and neglect.
According to a report released last year New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of public investment in children and young people, ranking 28 of 30 OECD nations.
“If we really want to protect all our children and give them the opportunities they deserve, New Zealand’s total investment in its children and young people must be increased,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.
“That means any proposed legislative cap on government spending should explicitly exclude spending on the health, welfare and education of children. More investment in all our children now will save money in the future”.
“The government has said no new money will be spent on this action plan for vulnerable children, but we don’t want to see a rob Peter to pay Paul approach whereby funding would be removed from existing child services to fund targeted services. Targetting children who are already vulnerable does not prevent other children from becoming vulnerable or being put at risk,” he says.
NZEI supports a proposal in the Green Paper to establish a Minister for Children and while it favours mandatory reporting of child abuse, it would want to see some robust processes and professional development regarding information-sharing and reporting to help guide teachers.
“The health, welfare and education of all our children must be at the top of the government’s priority list. An action plan for vulnerable children needs to be a part of a wider commitment to all New Zealand children which is not dictated by fiscal constraint,” says Mr Leckie.