Press Release – Every Child Counts
Immediately upon her election as the chairperson of Every Child Counts*, Liz Gibbs urged all political parties to put children at the centre of their policy development.Every Child Counts new chairperson challenges all politicians
Immediately upon her election as the chairperson of Every Child Counts*, Liz Gibbs urged all political parties to put children at the centre of their policy development.
“It is critical for the future of our nation that we prioritise children,” she said.
Over 200,000 children grow up deprived of many of the basics needed for good child development, as a consequence of family poverty. Just over half are Māori (59,651) and Pasifika (44,120). Our child abuse rates are among the worst in the developed world with 55,494 reports of concern in 2009/10 to MSD requiring further action. Through the 1990s we ranked third highest among the rich nations for child maltreatment deaths – with no evidence of improvement since then. Children’s hospitalisation rates for conditions associated with poverty are increasing.
“Such poor outcomes for children cost the whole nation dearly,” she said.
Infometrics undertook research for Every Child Counts into the economic cost and concluded that on a conservative estimate children’s poor outcomes were costing the nation approximately $6 billion per annum.
A further report for Every Child Counts by the University of Auckland found Māori and Pasifika children were disproportionately represented in the deprivation statistics. The report concluded that we need a new framework for measuring Māori and Pasifika wellbeing.
”That’s why we launched our 1000 Days To Get It Right campaign. It is about every child having the very best start in the first 1000 days — or three years — of life so that they grow into healthy, educated, productive and socially competent adults,” continued Liz Gibbs. “One thousand days is also approximately the length of one parliamentary term and we’re urging MPs to make good use of their parliamentary term.”
“Parliament and central government play a critical role in improving the future outcomes for our children. But at present New Zealand has internationally low levels of investment in children. The most recent OECD comparisons show Australia spends US$29,753 on each child under the age of six years, New Zealand spends US$14,339. (The OECD average is US$30,187).”
“Let’s be clear, concerted political action to improve children’s outcomes benefits us all as today’s children become tomorrow’s problem solvers, scientists, entrepreneurs, community leaders, parents, tax-payers … and caregivers for older New Zealanders.”
“I call upon all political candidates to sign the Every Child Counts political pledge for children to put children at the front and centre of policy,” Liz Gibbs concluded.
Every Child Counts’ announcement today of the election of Liz Gibbs as their new chairperson follows the resignation of the former chair, Murray Edridge, who takes up a public service appointment in the New Year.