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Consensus vital to lift fate of most vulnerable children

Rahui Katene
MP for Te Tai Tonga | Maori Party Deputy Whip

29 August 2011

‘Consensus vital if we are to lift the fate of our most vulnerable children’ says Katene

Rahui Katene, Te Tai Tonga MP, has issued a challenge to all parties to work together to address the systemic issues around child poverty that are holding our nation back.

“The Children’s Social Health Monitor states a fact which our communities have been aware of for a long time – that even in the time of plenty in the mid 2000s there have been glaring inequalities in child health.

Governments have not been bold enough to address the issues of poverty; issues that we see reflected daily in the pronounced disparities experienced by Maori, Pasifika and those living in more deprived areas”.

“Shockingly, diseases such as tuberculosis, and rheumatic fever, that we're told are third world, are still prevalent in some New Zealand communities, particularly those that are already disadvantaged. The Living Standards survey reveals that far too many families simply have insufficient means to protect their children from severe or significant hardship”.

“It is vital that we achieve consensus across the Parliament, if we are to lift the fate of our most vulnerable children” said Mrs Katene.

In her role as the Co-Chair of the crossparty Aotearoa Equality Group, she is pleased that in June 2011 the group was able to convince the Maori Affairs Select Committee to hold an inquiry into the wellbeing of Maori and Pasifika children; despite National MPs voting against it.

“The Maori Party has pioneered ahead with Whanau Ora, which inspires whanau to take control of their future.

“What this latest report reminds us, yet again, is that income inequalities have an inevitable direct impact on child health; these children lack adequate nutrition, housing, and healthcare. The systematic under-investment in infrastructure has seriously disadvantaged particular populations.

“We can not depoliticise or ignore child poverty. All parties have a role to play in supporting our most vulnerable communities, to benefit from raised incomes and improved health. It is a call that the Maori Party will not deny”.


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