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We must all get it right for our kids

Deputy Leader

14 August 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
We must all get it right for our kids

A report out today urging all political parties to work together for the benefit of our children’s future is being welcomed by Labour as a validation of its promise to put children at the centre of social policy.

The Infometrics report - 1000 Days To Get It Right For Every Child - was commissioned by Every Child Counts.

“It’s a sobering report, and if anyone had any doubts about the social outcomes of Labour’s children-focused policy, then they should read it. It provides the economic evidence that we are on the right track,” Annette King said.

“Labour has been advocating a wide-ranging, comprehensive framework that focuses on the first five years of every child’s life for a long time. And we’ve been pushing for a cross-party approach to it to ensure everyone is agreed on expectations for our children’s future.

“What we’ve got from National instead is a narrow-themed Green Paper that only looks out for so-called ‘vulnerable’ kids.

“Experts have told us, time and time again, that waiting until a child is identified as being vulnerable before intervention is pointless. The evidence to support what we need to do is crystal clear, but is being ignored by this Government.

“One of the key messages in this report is that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are critical in determining whether or not that child becomes a healthy, mature, and productive member of the community,” Annette King said.

“The payoff from effective investment – including affordable and accessible early childhood education -in our kids during this stage in their lives, can’t be stressed enough. It produces measurable improvements throughout life, not just for the individual but for everyone”

Labour has already committed to replacing the Families Commission with a Ministry for Children- having a Minister for Children to ensure children are at the hub of healthy, education, social development and housing policy - and would require all new or changed policy to undergo “child impact assessments” similar to ones done for human rights, she said.

“We will put forward our full programme of policies to ensure all children get the best start in life, including full costings, during the next three months.

“Outcomes for Kiwi kids are some of the worst among OECD countries, with every dollar we spend among the least effective. That’s a sad reflection on a country that used to pride itself on being the ‘best place in the world to bring up kids’. Meaningful changes have to be made, and soon,” Annette King said.

Paid for by Vote Parliamentary Service and Authorised by Annette King, Deputy Leader, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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