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New Zealand Breaches UN Obligations on Children

New Zealand Breaches UN Obligations on Children

Tuesday 20 Nov 2001 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

It is immoral for the Social Services and Employment Minister to claim that New Zealand is a great place to be a child when his Government continues to breach United Nations obligations to look after our children, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"Mr Maharey today launched `Children's Rights: A Second Chance', amid empty rhetoric and yet more spin-doctored grandstanding.

"It is immoral for Ministers to claim breakthroughs in making New Zealand `a great place for children' while this Government flagrantly contravenes our obligations to ensure every child gets a fair start in life.

"We have a legal and moral obligation as a country to ensure that all of our children are in school.

"Last year the Government completely lost track of 5,000 children who dropped out of one school and didn't enrol in another. Nine hundred of those kids were under the age of nine.

"The United Nations Convention of the Child was ratified by New Zealand in the early 1990s. Article 28 states that nations must 'take measures to encourage the reduction of drop-out rates'.

"Truancy staff, parents and educators are crying out for the creation of a central database to monitor enrolments. That is the only sensible measure we can take.

"The Minister of Education is perhaps the only person in the country who believes `the creation of a database would not solve' the problem of long-term truancy.'

"This Government has implemented absolutely no new system to track down long-term truants. Current databases are in such disarray that they failed three times in three weeks recently. As a result, the truth is that we have no idea how many more children are lost out there.

"It is criminal for the Government to continue doing nothing," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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