09 June 2011
Important commitments have been expressed recently about giving priority to children in decision making. The report from Sir Peter Gluckman makes it clear that investment in children is good for children and indeed good for all of us now and in the years ahead. Critically, that investment has to be early in life and sustained – it cannot be turned on and off at a whim.
Read the full media release below
Alongside the Gluckman report, it is encouraging to see the Labour Party committing itself to placing children at the centre of its political agenda. Child Poverty Action Group has argued for almost two decades that the poorest children have been discriminated against in a range of areas, most particularly in being excluded from key aspects of the financial support of the Working for Families package. The previous Labour government, the National government that preceded it, and the current government are all guilty in this respect. We expect that Labour’s commitment now will mean an end to this discrimination and will mean that all children are given the resources and opportunities they need to reach their potential. We will certainly be watching closely.
The result of almost 20 years of policy neglect is that too many children have been living in poverty. This poverty has enormous consequences for all children, some of which are reflected in the issues raised in the Gluckman report. Failing to give children priority is reflected in New Zealand’s appalling child health statistics, in educational underachievement, and in the scourge of unemployment affecting a quarter of our young people and is likely to be contributing to our poor economic performance. Unless this lack of priority is fixed quickly, childhood risks becoming the wasted years. All the evidence shows that this will translate into diminished possibilities when these children become adults. CPAG expects that the expressions of priority for children will become a reality and will hold politicians accountable. Then, with our children, we can look forward to a better future.