CPAG Whangarei: comment on the Salvation Army's State of the Nation Report:
"Sadly this report confirms, yet again, what many of us in Whangarei and Northland have known for some time: families are struggling and will continue to struggle until our country decides that it is worth investing in our children" says Ngaire Rae from CPAG Whangarei.
Sadly this report confirms, yet again, what many of us in Whangarei and Northland have known for some time: families are struggling and will continue to struggle until our country decides that it is worth investing in our children.
On the International Rugby Board World Rankings New Zealand is currently ranked 1st out of 25 nations. This is a great thing and something we can all be proud of. In the ranking for Children’s Health and Safety (which looks at infant deaths, immunization rates, death from injuries) New Zealand is ranked 24th out of 25 OECD nations. This is an outrage and something for which we should all be ashamed.
New Zealand has to start putting children at the centre of all our policy decisions.
How many reports do we need to tell us that we aren’t doing enough for our children? We know that much of the dire health and social statistics we see can be remedied by policy. We allow inequalities to exist because the wrong policies are in place. There is plenty of evidence about what is required. Investment in our children in their early years has to be a top priority. We know that if we get it right when children are young the benefits are life long.
Free primary health care for all children, good quality accessible and affordable early childhood education, increased provision for paid parental leave, an increase in minimum family incomes, breakfast in schools, ensuring all homes are healthy and fit for living, all of these initiatives would have immediate tangible benefits.
At a local level people could support the fledging Child Friendly Cities initiative, or get involved with their local school food programme or sign the petitions started by Jazmine Heka and the Children Against Poverty movement.
What our country needs is strong leadership with the same determination that was shown for the Rugby World Cup. Then we will really make a difference.