Making progress for our kids

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Tracey Martin
Prime Minister Child Poverty Reduction Children

The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day.

The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, which enshrines in international law specific rights for children to have safe, happy and fulfilled childhoods.

“New Zealand can and should be the best place in the world to be a child, but we must think about what that means from a child’s perspective.

“When we asked children and young people what it would take to improve their lives, they were quick to talk about their families’ situation.

“One of our toughest long-term challenges is to tackle child poverty.

“I’m proud that we’ve made a good start on our plan to ensure families can give their kids the best possible start at life, which benefits all of New Zealand.

That’s why the Government:

  • Is boosting the incomes of 384,000 families through the Families Package
  • Passed a law to halve child poverty in a decade
  • Is rolling out free lunches in schools starting in term 1 next year
  • Extended free GP visits to those aged up 14 (total – 883,397 children)
  • Extended Nurses in Schools to cover decile 4 (total – 77,000 young people)
  • Increased paid parental leave to 22 weeks, up to 26 by 2020
  • Scrapped a sanction that cuts a woman’s benefit if she doesn’t name the father
  • Indexed main benefits to wage growth
  • Has built more houses than any Government since the 1970s
  • Increased funding so parents don’t have to pay for school donations or NCEA fees
  • Is building and funding a proper care and protection agency to better help at-risk children and their families

“The Families Package and Wellbeing Budget means we’re on track to lift 50,000 to 74,000 children out of poverty by putting more money in the pockets of parents and our wider plan eases the pressure on families across health, education and housing,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The voices and views of more than 6000 young people recently helped to shape New Zealand’s first Child, Youth and Wellbeing Strategy that drives the ongoing improvements to the health and wellbeing of our children,” Minister for Children Tracey Martin said.

“The plan sets the direction for not just three years ahead but 30, and with the next generation in mind.

“I am proud that we are making children our focus,” Tracey Martin said.

The Prime Minister and Speaker officially opened a playground on Parliament Lawn today alongside children from early learning centres around Wellington.

Notes to editor:

Today is the 30th anniversary of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Children’s Convention). New Zealand ratified the convention on 6 April 1993 and was invited to and subsequently recommitted its pledge recently to align with its 30th anniversary.  196 countries have become State Parties to the Convention.