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Children will be hardest hit by recession

Every Child Counts
Media release
Weds, 16 September 2009

Economist says that children will be hardest hit during recession

Children are the group most severely affected by the current recession, delegates at Every Child Counts’ Summit on Children in the Recession were told today.

Ninety delegates from a range of agencies are attending the Summit, which is being held at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Church in Mangere, Auckland. The Summit intends to develop a plan to deal with issues affecting children in the recession –which will be presented to Minister of Housing, Hon Phil Heatley later today.

“Even though we are seeing signs of economic recovery we expect unemployment numbers to continue increasing – with heavy representation from the young and the unskilled,”economist David Grimmond said in his keynote address.

“Maori and Pacific populations, who are generally younger than the bulk of population will be hardest hit. The children of these families will suffer most in the short and long term.

“Their parents will be less able to meet their essential needs and their health, development and educational achievement will suffer. Poor health equals poor economic achievement.”

David Grimmond identified the six regions in the country most likely to experience disadvantage as:

• Gisborne

• Auckland

• Hawkes Bay

• Manawatu

• Wanganui

• Southland

“These areas have higher proportions of families who are at risk. High risk families are often single parent families, on low incomes, and perhaps don't own their own home or car, or have telephones.

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“Developing solutions is complicated but in the short term we need to identify and target those most at risk and develop innovative and customised solutions. We need to promote good nutrition, health, education and social inclusion.

“In the medium term we need to allocate more resources to those in need, and resist policies that create large disparities between the haves and have-nots.

“But the real solution lies in stable and smooth economic development. An economic boom will always be followed by a period of economic recession – and poor families and their children bear the brunt of these downturns.”


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