• Deborah Morris
Associate Minister of Women's Affairs

Minister of Women's Affairs Jenny Shipley and Associate Minister of Women's Affairs Deborah Morris today welcomed the release of the Ministry of Education's draft curriculum statement on Health and Physical Education.

Mrs Shipley said the aim of the curriculum was to help young people learn how to look after themselves physically and emotionally.

It covers a range of important skills and learning in physical education, health and home economics. Part of the curriculum addresses the areas of sexual health and personal relationships.

International research shows quite clearly that good education programmes on sexuality actually encourage young people to delay their first sexual experience and avoid unwanted pregnancies.

"Good sexual health is also vital in improving women's education, social and economic status," said Mrs Shipley.

The Ministers said the draft curriculum gave young people good messages about sexual health, personal responsibility and respect for others, and encouraged parents and the wider community to be involved in children's well-being.

Ms Morris said the messages in the curriculum fitted in well with the Government's overall Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy.

"The publication of this draft curriculum is an opportunity for parents and the wider community to talk about how we can help our daughters and sons to develop responsible and healthy attitudes to personal relationships and their sexual well-being.

"Communities have to share the responsibility for lowering New Zealand's statistics on abortions, unwanted pregnancies and STDs. I encourage parents and educators to read, consider, discuss and respond to the draft health and physical education curriculum," said Ms Morris.