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UN: Kiwi kids worries

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, January 21st, 2011 - 10 comments
Categories: families - Tags: ,

The UN committee on the rights of the child has had some harsh things to say about New Zealand’s performance in looking after our children.

20% of children are being raised in poverty.  Labour’s Working For Families did a lot to improve the child poverty problem, but we’re slipping back under National.

Our infant and child mortality rates are “staggering” – partly caused by overcrowding causing disease and stress.

Also, children were “fairly invisible” in legislation.  More than a Families Commission and Child, Youth and Family Service, the UN reckons we should have a Ministry or Department to look after Children’s Issues.

So, should we do something to improve the lot of kids in our country?  The Herald says no.   But Labour will be loving it, having just released the start of their new child-centred policy.  Labour will be going big on children this year.

As Whitney Houston says: “I believe the children are our future”.  It may be an awful song, but it does contain that great truism.

So Labour have introduced their longer paid parental leave policy, and will introduce more and more early childhood-oriented policy during the year.  They’ve consulted the experts, reviewed the research, and it all comes out with the same answer.  If you want a better society, if you want more bang for your social buck: spend on early childhood.

That’s where you can break the cycle of socio-economic deprivation.  That’s where you can intervene early before bad parenting leads to damaged kids who will cost us in health or prisons at a latter date.  That where you can build strong, confident, critical thinking children, who will become the backbone of community and society in the future.  Working with pre-schoolers and especially babies is in fact the most important work we do in society – even if it is by unpaid mothers.

So yes to longer paid-parental leave to allow all important child bonding.  Yes to readily available parenting classes for all.  Yes to an extended WFF entitlement to give parents options if they want to stay at home until their child is 2.  Yes to increased (not cut!) Early Childhood Education to grow our children’s brains – especially with regard to self-control and emotional and communication functions.

Peter Dunne may go with whoever will pay for his beloved Families Commission, but he must wonder if he’s backed the right horse – yes National have funded his Commission, but as the UN point out, their main contribution to children this term, is to have lowered the age of criminal responsibility on some crimes; introducing them to prisons and the criminal life at an age when they can still be reformed.

10 comments on “UN: Kiwi kids worries ”

  1. Deadly_NZ 1

    And after reading this in Stuff I really cannot believe that NO ONE noticed that anything was wrong. 12 agencies.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4562042/UN-concern-over-Kiwi-kids-rights
    or here is some more interesting reading.
    http://cyfswatch.org/

    With one govt help agency CYFS, I could believe it and I would even put the blame at CYFS feet as having tried to work with them over a difficult child I have found them to be worse than useless.

    Yep it’s CYFS ‘we KILL your children quicker’ And they have been investigated before and found wanting BUT nothing ever happens, and now with funding SURELY to get cut (to give more tax cuts to the rich) it’s going to get worse.

    • AndyB 1.1

      i can’t believe there are 12 agencies! why the hell do we need 12? Obviously more is not better in this case. Time for an overhaul me thinks.

    • millsy 1.2

      That cyfswatch site is just a bunch of middle class christian types who resent the fact that they cannot beat their children,

  2. Penn 2

    ***So yes to longer paid-parental leave to allow all important child bonding. Yes to readily available parenting classes for all. Yes to an extended WFF entitlement to give parents options if they want to stay at home until their child is 2. Yes to increased (not cut!) Early Childhood Education to grow our children’s brains – especially with regard to self-control and emotional and communication functions.***

    Agree.

    ***Our infant and child mortality rates are “staggering” – partly caused by overcrowding causing disease and stress.***

    There also has to be more incentive for those who can’t look after children to use contraception. Those on long term welfare could have temporary birth control shots to protect against pregnancy.

    • Bunji 2.1

      I certainly couldn’t go for the loss of liberty that mandated contraception of welfare recipients, that’s way beyond the pale.

      But free contraception, as they have in many western countries, seems sensible, to make it easier for those on low incomes.

      • Blondie 2.1.1

        Bunji – I utterly agree.

        Some far right extremists seem to think it would be a fantastic idea to sterilize pretty much everyone outside their own families….. but in reality, making reliable contraception freely available (to everyone) would be a much better alternative. And would be welcomed by most women.

        Penn, I presume you’re a male, otherwise you wouldn’t suggest mandatory depo provera shots – which cause massive weight gain in most women, and only work for 3 months at a time anyway. There are other alternatives which would be much more popular.

  3. randal 3

    throwing money at this problem is never going to work.
    we have become a nation of infantilised idiots whose only desire is to gratify gross needs and wants.
    i.e. I want a hardly davison for xmas.
    the adults all want to regress back into childhood and the children all think they are adults.
    by telling everybody that all their desires can be satisfied we have become a nation of truculent, petulant resentful people.
    how do we get over this I do not know but money is not the be all and end all of nz’s social woes.
    \we have a media in thrall to the MARKET and a coterie of scholteachers trotting out post modernistic bushwa and this is the result.

    • Tony P 3.1

      Being a teacher I’d really like to know what sort of post modernistic bushwa I am trotting out because it doesn’t seem to be part of what I’m teaching my class of 5 year olds.

  4. roger nome 4

    Don’t the global banking elite/National’s bosses get into child sacrifice anyhow? JK is just showing his loyalty to the cause.

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