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Cildrens problems a reflection of wider issues

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday 5 November 2007

Alliance says childrens problems a reflection of wider issues

The Alliance Party says there are no surprises following a new report that shows there was more aggression from children in the classroom.

Alliance Spokesperson for Women and Social Issues Gail Marmont says this is the result of years of neglect of childrens wellbeing.

The report commissioned by the New Zealand Foundation for Character Education said the family unit was not as strong, cohesive and functioning as it once was and the focus on raising children had weakened.

Ms Marmont says the consumer capitalist society has resulted in many families being impoverished, not just financially, but in terms of time and recreation with their families.

"Problems such as excessive hours of work, casual jobs and shift work are hitting families hard."

She says this is combined with unaffordable housing and living costs which are creating stress for many people.

"Food costs are rising, and the cost and the preparation time for healthy food and good meals is becoming harder for busy working parents."

Ms Marmont says television is especially bad for portraying excessive violence, humiliation and bullying behaviour as well as continual commercial hype that was badly affecting impressionable young minds.

"We talk about rising living standards, but such things cannot simply be measured as an economic output. We need to look at the whole environment that children are growing up in and fix the things that are wrong."

She says the Government should be using its huge surplus to invest in policies that address New Zealand's enormous social deficit in the wellbeing of the young.

"A new wing for the Starship Hospital’s oncology ward would be an excellent start, where overcrowding of the young patients and their families is a scandal in a so-called developed country."

The Alliance supports the provision of good quality affordable housing and power, massive investment in low cost public transport systems, free education and realistic wages.

State subsidized childcare is another priority for the Alliance to relieve the burden on low and middle income families.


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