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We need to do more for New Zealand's vulnerable children: Save the Children CEO Liz Gibbs

Wednesday 28 September 2011, 8:59AM
By Save The Children
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WELLINGTON

Save the Children CEO Liz Gibbs will be speaking at the Women’s Refuge Summit in Wellington tomorrow about why Save the Children wants to see more public investment in New Zealand’s vulnerable children and why we should be looking further afield for inspiration.

New Zealand's investment in children is among the lowest in the OECD and it has one of the worst child outcomes.

Save the Children New Zealand is part of the Every Child Counts coalition with Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF and Te Kahui Mana Ririki. A recent report commissioned by the coalition, 1000 days to get it right for every child, highlighted that despite our best efforts, the $3 billion New Zealand is spending on its children and families each year is not helping the children who need it most.

Save the Children wants to see effective investments in children so that New Zealand has a healthy, well-educated work force for the future Ms Gibbs says.

"There is a lot of evidence that shows that improving children's lives is still achievable with low levels of public investment. The first three years of a child’s life are critical for optimal development - and from a financial standpoint this is where we can make the best return on investment for children and for New Zealand.

“The Netherlands have comparatively low levels of public investment but much better outcomes than New Zealand. Their approach of moderate spending for maximum gain is paying off. The Dutch are ranked 4th in the OECD when it comes to child outcomes, while New Zealand is ranked 28th. Given their recent success and obvious efficiencies, we believe we can learn from their successful model,” she says.

Save the Children New Zealand is part of a global organization that promotes the rights and protection of children and young people globally. We believe that it is important we take on this challenge in New Zealand. We want to make sure New Zealand children are able to thrive and that we achieve the best future possible for them.