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Plunket calls for action for the under fives

Media Release
8 November 2007
For immediate release

Plunket calls for New Zealand to take action for the under fives

Plunket’s is calling for the whole of New Zealand to ‘step up’ and focus the next five years on the under fives. At the launch of Five Years for Under Fives this morning at Parliament, Plunket presented its focus for the next five years and called for action from the whole of New Zealand need to provide the best start for children.

“Investing in the first five years of children’s lives is investing in New Zealand’s future. New Zealand must put children first and putting them first will have economic, social and community benefits for us all,” says Carol Becker, Plunket’s New Zealand president.

According to the 2007 UNICEF Innocenti report, New Zealand ranks worst in the developed world on the number of children under 19 years killed in accidents and injuries, including violence, murder and suicide.

There are a complex range of contributing factors to these appalling ratings and statistics, but evidence suggests that poor childhood outcomes are related to poor outcomes in adulthood. Plunket believes that investment in the early years and a focus on wellness is essential.

The Society is calling for New Zealand to take responsibility to provide more support and increased investment in the first five years of children’s lives. Plunket wants New Zealand to take actions that will make a real difference and these are:

• Increasing investment in the early years
• Making parenting education freely available to all – and part of the core curriculum in schools
• Ensuring families have a ‘well child’ champion to connect them to the services they need
• Expanding the well child approach to embrace well family
• Ensuring support is available to all families through a national ‘well child’ database

In return, Plunket is pledging to deliver more support in accordance with families’ needs; advocate for increased investment for the under fives; work with others in the sector to create an integrated, shared network of support, so that every family will be given the opportunity to access the services they need.

“As a country, we’ve talked enough. We know what the issues are and now its time to ‘step up’ and take action, and Plunket is prepared to do just that” says Paul Baigent, CEO of Plunket.

Plunket acknowledges that ultimately it is families that are responsible for supporting their children but everyone needs to contribute to providing families with support. Plunket is calling for the whole of New Zealand to pull together and increase its efforts to get the best start for New Zealand’s children.

About the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society

The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society (Plunket) this year celebrates its centenary year. Plunket is New Zealand’s largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five and is dedicated to working with parents and communities to ensure that New Zealand children get the best start in life. Plunket’s services help families nationwide, through over 550 branches, mobile clinics and a free phone service, PlunketLine – 0800 933 922. For more information go to www.plunket.org.nz

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