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Govt 'stigmatising' Maori parents: Greens

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/07/2016

The Green Party is calling on the government to support safe sleeping devices to protect babies co-sleeping with their parents.

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is responsible for more than 60 baby deaths a year in New Zealand, according to Plunket figures.

Maori babies are eight times more likely to die in infancy, the Greens say.

Maori Development spokeswoman Marama Davidson says the government must support the use of safe co-sleeping pods, such as flax-woven wahakura, or plastic pepi-pods.

The call comes after a report by the New Zealand Herald, which found the government ignored about eight years' worth of coroner recommendations to use the pods, due to safety fears.

The Ministry of Health got rid of a contract with the group distributing pepi-pods to at-risk families and told DHBs not to use government funding to buy the devices.

Ms Davidson says the government is stigmatising the traditional parenting practice of co-sleeping and marginalising families who are "doing the right thing by their culture".

"The government is turning its back on a solution that could save lives and allow Maori and Pacific families the opportunity to continue their traditional way of life and keep their babies safe," she said.

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