Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Child & Youth Research a wake up call

PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE FAMILY PARTY

27 November 2007

Child & Youth Research a wake up call for government

Richard Lewis, leader of The Family Party, says research by the NZ Child & Youth Epidemiology Service into child and youth wellbeing in New Zealand is a timely ‘wake up call’ for the government in its approach and attitude towards families.

Mr Lewis says the research titled “Monitoring the Health of NZ Children & Young People” paints a concerning picture of deprived living conditions being experienced by an unacceptable number of New Zealand children. Notably, the research highlights a direct correlation between family breakdown and detrimental home environments through a marked shift away from two-parent families over the last 25 years.

“This research tells us that the key to providing a healthy environment for New Zealand children is in the strength and prosperity of our families. There is no such thing as a poor child, just poor families. The problem with our government is it approaches children and young people independent of their parents. To change this picture, government needs to change its approach to families and particularly, New Zealand parents,” says Mr Lewis.

The research acknowledged the importance of family composition in terms of the socioeconomic resources available to dependent children. The 2004 Living Standards Survey suggested that 42% of sole parent families lived in significant or severe hardship, as compared to only 14% of two parent families. Such hardship resulted in families postponing children’s doctors or dentists visits, children sharing a bed, wearing poorly fitted clothes or shoes, or going without wet weather clothing. In addition, the survey noted that sole parent families were more likely to be reliant on benefits (sole-parent 62% vs. two-parent 6%) and that much of the differences in living standards between sole and two parent families was due to the formers greater reliance on benefits as their primary source of income.

Some of the research findings include:

 Hospital admission rates for childhood skin infections have increased in recent years and are currently double that of the USA and Australia. From 1990-2006, there was a large increase in the number of children and young people admitted to hospital with serious bacterial infections. Hospital admissions were notably higher for Pacific and Maori children and those living in deprived areas.

 High rates of child poverty, leading to low birth weight, infant mortality, poorer mental health and cognitive development and hospital admissions. In 2006, nearly 40% of all babies were born into New Zealand’s most deprived areas (Decile 8-10), with Maori and Pacific babies more likely to be born into deprived areas.

 Large increases in the number of children and young people living below the poverty line during 1998-2004. In general terms, Maori, Pacific, children of sole parents and beneficiaries, were more likely to be growing up with restrictions on socioeconomic resources.

 The estimated prevalence of Bronchiectasis for New Zealand children is 7 times higher than the only country (Finland) for which comparative incident figures are available. They are 3 times higher for Maori children and 12 times higher for Pacific Children. Incidents demonstrate a marked socioeconomic gradient, with nearly 70% of children in one study living in NZDep deciles 8-10. Hospitalisation has increased dramatically in the last decade. (Bronchiectasis is a progressive disease characterised by bronchial dilatation with or without associated damage to the brachial wall and lung parenchyma. The symptoms result in significant morbidity, lost school days and multiple absences for working parents of affected children. Children have reduced exercise capacity and may have slower growth)

The research noted that from 1980 – 2006, the socioeconomic position of Pacific and Maori babies did not improve appreciably over 26 years.

The research also revealed the proportion of benefit dependent children relying on DBP recipients increased during 2000-2007. Younger children were disproportionately reliant on benefit recipients.

“Intergenerational welfare dependency is a major problem in our country that is crippling the potential of our children. It is far too easy for fathers in particular, to walk away from their responsibilities to their children and their family. Likewise, state dependency through sole-parenting is viewed as a valid career pathway by an increasing number of young women. The problem is that our welfare system is creating a culture of dependency by making it more financially attractive for parents to live apart than to formalise their relationship and build a future for their children together. Moreover, Labour's approach of directly and indirectly over-taxing families is also inherently wrong and dissempowers families by requiring parents to 'line up and sign up' for money that was rightfully theirs in the first place," he added.

The Family Party will pursue policies that encourage enduring two parent families, raise the profile and positive image of marriage and parenting, pursue lower personal tax rates and remove incentives towards parental separation.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ability to pick winners. Others would have looked at the dying remnants of the old Act Party and written it off. Yet National needed an MMP partner and it saw the potential where no-one else did. And so it re-grew the Act Party in a petri dish in Epsom, and carefully nurtured it back to life... More>>

 

Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>

ALSO:


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>

ALSO:

Poll: Labour On 46%, National 31%, While Greens And ACT Both On 8%

Tonight's political poll puts Labour on 46 percent and National on 31 percent with just one day remaining until election day. More>>

ALSO:


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>

ALSO:

Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels