On the sixth day of Christmas, let's target child health and wellbeing

Monday 13 December 2010, 3:39PM
By Green Party

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Green Party today showed how targeted policies can improve child health and wellbeing, in response to the release of the Children’s Social Health Monitor report.

“Every child deserves to grow up healthy and safe. This requires a secure home, good food, access to essentials like footwear and raincoats, and a safe environment to live and play in,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“If we can guarantee these things, we can ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life.

“The Children’s Social Health Monitor report shows that even before the current economic crisis, many of our Maori and Pacific kids, and kids from deprived areas, had very different childhoods than kids from wealthier families. This hurts their health during childhood, and their chances for life.

“The report warns that in the current economic climate, families will be forced to take further steps – like fitting more people under one roof, and cutting down on heating – that have severe health consequences for our kids,” Mrs Turei said.

Mrs Turei said that having this information provided the opportunity to make targeted interventions to improve child health and wellbeing.

“The Green Party has targeted solutions to change this picture, such as building new state houses, investing in job creation, and focussing the welfare system on child wellbeing.

“We know that inadequate and overcrowded housing contributes to the appallingly high rate of rheumatic fever for New Zealand kids. Building new state houses will put more kids in healthy houses.

“Building 6,000 new state houses in the next three years will also create around 28,000 desperately-needed new jobs, which could help thousands of families out of poverty.

“The other side of the equation is to ensure that kids whose parents rely on a benefit also get the best start in life.

“We can do that by extending Working for Families support to those kids, re-instating a training allowance to help their parents to upskill, and focusing welfare changes on the goal of child wellbeing.

“These solutions are part of our Christmas wishlist that would guarantee the essentials for our kids, narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and help to build a strong community that's better for everyone,” Mrs Turei said.

Each working day between now and Christmas, the Green Party is highlighting a key issue related to inequality, and presenting Green solutions to those issues.