The Labour conference this weekend is expected to release new “policy directions”. One of them is out already — and it’s good. What could make more sense than putting children first:
Labour focuses on children
Labour deputy leader Annette King says the party will put children at the centre of social policy.
She today told delegates at Labour’s annual conference that New Zealand was not doing as well for children as are other comparable countries. “We sit in the bottom third in OECD rankings for most child indicators. Many of our children are left behind. Their early life experiences are harmful and on-going and many Māori and Pacific children have poorer life chances than other children the same age.”
“The next Labour Government will put children at the centre of policy in areas including health, education, social development and housing,” Mrs King said. Labour sees a focus on children as the most effective way to reduce harm and costs in later life…
TVNZ fills in some of the initial details:
Labour’s initial plan is to give parents more options to stay at home, expand the 20 hours free childhood education already provided by the government and get all children enrolled with a Well Child Provider to give parenting advice. King said there would be milestones set to ensure the agenda was achieved.
See the whole speech here.
I think (no surprise here!) that this is great policy from Labour. It is simple, easy to sell (perhaps we’ll see a campaign like the Green’s iconic “Vote for me”), hard to argue with. But even better, it puts the focus where it belongs. On children. On lifting children out of poverty. On education. On the future. If properly done, the payoffs will be huge. Some of them won’t be felt for decades, but Labour and the Left in general has always been much better at planning for the future than the Nats. Go for it!
From the initial reports (see first link), the plan has “three main components”:
• Legislation and structural change
• Crucial early phases in children’s development, aged 0-2 and 3-5 years
• Breaking the cycle of socio-economic deprivation
The one thing I would like to add, the missing piece which has to be part of this picture, is providing for the future. If we’re thinking about children then we’re thinking long term. Making plans, economic and especially environmental, that look well beyond the usual three year electoral cycle. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a government that was doing that…