Community Scoop

Kiwi kids demand adults protect environment

Press Release – Joint Press Release

New Zealand children have a message for adults as they head to the polls in next weeks general election: clean up our environment and reduce inequality!Kiwi kids demand adults protect environment and address social issues

New Zealand children have a message for adults as they head to the polls in next week’s general election: clean up our environment and reduce inequality!

Their views emerged in a survey of more than 5000 young people (aged 5-18) which Westpac and the Sir Peter Blake Trust conducted in June and July as part of their “Dream Bank” initiative.

Each person was asked to submit a personal dream and a dream for New Zealand. (Some of these are listed below)

Sir Peter Blake Trust Acting Chief Executive, Sally Paterson says one in three respondents dreamed of solving key environmental challenges.

“Whether it’s addressing climate change, making New Zealand predator free or reducing plastics, Kiwi kids were firm that we need to up our game environmentally.

“We were impressed by how many children had innovative solutions for the problems they had identified.

“ We need to listen to our young people. They’re passionate about our environment and are ready to make change to protect it. I’m sure some of them will be in their parents’ ears with their thoughts as the family heads to the ballot box.”

Westpac General Manager of Marketing, Product and Transformation, Andrew Kerr, says he was impressed many respondents had a mature grasp of the issues facing society.

“Lots of children wanted to see a reduction in smoking, the elimination of poverty and more treatment for mental health issues.

“Their understanding and empathy gives me great confidence that the future is in safe hands.”

Children who participated in the Dream Bank project were encouraged to use a Dream Action Plan to begin making their dreams a reality. The online toolkit has now been downloaded more than 3550 times.

Five children won prizes of $1000 and other prizes were also awarded to schools and individuals.

My dream for New Zealand highlights:
• 1 in 3 young Kiwis had an environmentally-focused dream for New Zealand
• Over 50% of dreams for NZ were about improving New Zealand by reducing homelessness, poverty and being safer and healthier.
• More than 300 young Kiwis had a dream for New Zealand that mentioned bullying, equality and being free of discrimination based on gender, sexual preference, race and religion
• 347 Kiwi kids wanted New Zealand to be the ‘happiest’ country in the world

Key themes by the numbers:
Environment: 1773
Improve NZ: 1518
Safer NZ: 899
Poverty: 560
Healthcare: 349
Sports: 234
NZ Recognition: 194
Charity: 194
Political: 137
Education: 26

Some of the stand out dreams for New Zealand:
I want New Zealand to stop using as much plastic in stores specifically supermarkets. I hope that someday in the very near future everyone will be bringing reusable bags and coffee cups instead of using disposable ones. 15, Manawatu-Whanganui
To help the language of Maori grow and to keep it a NZ language. I want to tell the old stories of Maui and how NZ was found. I will teach Maori songs and actions. I will teach kids how to count to 1000 and over. I will help the schools teach Maori more and hopefully teach them myself. 11, Tasman
To help global warming by linking with other countries in the Paris Climate Change agreement to peer pressure Donald Trump into taking a step to help the environment and earth in general. 11, Canterbury
That everyone understands the power that music has to bring us together as a whole NZ community. I remember as a child my mum singing the ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ song and her explaining that singing in harmony is much more about the working together than the actual sound made. 14, Canterbury.
To up their game in the mental illness area. It seems to be something that we all say we take seriously, but yet fail to deal with. So many people struggle with this, and it’s something that is so common within teenagers – so many people lack the skills and knowledge to navigate conversations regarding this topic. 16, Waikato
For young kiwis to be able to afford their own homes, especially in the North Island. Due to the fact that it seems as though it is going to be impossible for many of us to have the chance to own our own homes because of the housing crisis. 18, West Auckland
My dream for New Zealand is a better education system – I want New Zealand to update our schools. Comparing things like phones between now and one hundred years ago shows huge changes, but if the schools have stayed exactly the same over all this time, how can they really prepare students for the future? 12, Otago
To match us to our 100% pure slogan and protect our environment whilst also protecting farmers from hate they don’t deserve. I would like to see up play a bigger role in the conservation of Antarctica and have more people understanding its significance. 17, Otago.
My dream for NZ is for it to be drug free because I hate seeing druggies walking around drunk and high. 12, Northland

My dream of New Zealand is to one day have be bully free as I have been bullied constant times and for generations to come I would like it to be safe because the suicide rate for New Zealand is one of the highest in the world for teenagers. 12, Tasman
My dream for NZ is that I want all people everywhere to have a nice warm home. I think this is something that needs to be done ASAP! I think that it is not fair for people just like us to be sleeping on the cold hard ground. Yes I know I know they might have done something to put them there in that situation but still don’t ya think it’s a bit unfair? Well I do, 11, Auckland
One of my dreams is for New Zealand to become the fittest country in the whole entire world. One time when I was at McDonalds the lady asked “do you want apple slices or fries. Then I thought to myself I want to be fit and healthy like Jonah Lomu” so I chose the apple slices. 11, South Auckland
To have no one die on the roads – there are so many people who are dying on the roads especially people from overseas. It is very sad and hard for their families. 12, Otago
To stop dumping in our rivers because I’ve found loads of bottles, cans, animal carcasses, mattresses, barbed wire, burnt out tires and much more and i want to still be able to come and swim in the river for years to come. 12, Tasman
To be a forward-thinking nation. I want our country to be environmentally friendly, which could involve placing more emphasis on solar energy, and letting go of our reliance on the oil industry. 17, Canterbury.
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