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

 

Too many children falling behind peers

Media Release
26 November 2009

Too many children falling behind peers, Children’s Commissioner says

The age-old claim that New Zealand is a great place to bring up children and be a child is not what the facts show for about 20 percent of them, Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus said today.

“The Children’s Social Health Monitor launched yesterday reinforces what we have known for long enough, that a significant group of New Zealand children – as high as 20 percent – are falling well behind their peers in education, health and economic circumstances,” Dr Angus said.

The Children’s Social Health Monitor, launched at the Paediatric Society three-day annual conference in Hamilton yesterday, will track the effects of the economic downturn on child health and poverty annually.

“When I look at the social and economic position of children in New Zealand from the data available*, two things stand out for me. As many as 80 percent of New Zealand’s children do well in comparison to their parents’ generation and not too badly in relation to other OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in terms of education, recreation and opportunity for employment, though perhaps not so well in health and safety,” Dr Angus said.

“But as many as 20 percent do poorly and face disparities against their peers that will have lifelong effects for them. And it is a feature of the New Zealand data that those who are falling behind are so far behind.

“This pattern is common enough and entrenched enough across various dimensions of wellbeing for me to wonder if we have not as a society accepted some sort of 80:20 rule about the social and economic wellbeing of our children.”

Dr Angus said that children in very low-income families in the first five years of their lives, in addition to experiencing poorer health (across a range of measures including hospital admissions and mortality from various causes), also have poorer long-term outcomes such as failing in education and the resulting diminishing opportunities.

“Part of the solution lies in paying more attention to the impact on children of the decisions we make about taxes, benefits and government services. Children in poor families should not bear the brunt of fiscal constraint measures, as they did in the early 1990s as a result of benefit cuts and tax changes.

“Access to up-to-date information about the economic and social position of children, particularly those who are getting left behind, is vital to both inform decision makers and hold them to account for the impact of policies on all children. It will help us avoid the costs we will all bear as a society if we continue to allow so many children to fall so far behind in their education, health and ability to move into employment.

“So I think reports such as the Children’s Social Health Monitor are very useful. This information will be added to further by the comprehensive longitudinal study, Growing up in New Zealand, which is soon to produce its first results in Auckland. This great investment by government departments in obtaining up-to-date information about how children are being brought up will, for example, increase knowledge about how government services for children are used and might be made more effective.”

* Ministry of Social Development’s annual Social Report, Children and Young People: Indictors of Wellbeing in New Zealand 2008, and 2009 Household Income Report; OECD Doing Better for our Children 2009; and New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service’s New Zealand Children’s Social Health Monitor 2009.

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