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NZ lags in report card on child well-being

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/06/2017

New Zealand's standard of care for its children has left it languishing in the bottom quarter of a United Nations survey of high-income countries.

It has been ranked 34th overall out of 41 European Union and OECD members in the latest report issued by the Unicef Office of Research - Innocenti.

The report notes New Zealand's suicide rate among 15 to 19-year-olds is 15.6 per 100,000, the highest in the survey .

Nearly one in five Kiwi children was found to be living in relative income poverty.

Unicef NZ national advocacy manager Prudence Stone said the poor performance was a wake-up call for all New Zealanders.

"Contrary to the way we'd like to think, New Zealand is evidently not the greatest place to grow up in," she said.

"The more we've focused on New Zealand's economic well-being, the more we've lost sight of our children's."

Dr Stone said greater government action was needed to ensure the health and well-being of all New Zealand children.

Unicef - Innocenti director Sarah Cook says the report card shows that, even in high-income countries, progress does not benefit all.

Labour Party children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern the report showed families being unable to put food on the table was more common than was admitted.

"The report shows that national income alone is no guarantee of a good record in sustaining child well-being," she said.

"It's shameful that New Zealand joins the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Chile as the only countries that do not measure child poverty."

Child Poverty Action Group said small measures aimed at fixing the problem in this year's government budget would not come into effect until April 2018 and would be too late for many.

NZ RANKINGS IN CHILD WELL-BEING GOALS:

* End hunger - 18th out of 41 EU and OECD countries

* Ensure health and well-being - 38th;

* Ensure quality education - 15th;

* Promote decent work and economic growth - 34th;

* Reduce inequalities - 26th;

* Make cities safe and sustainable - 9th;

* Ensure sustainable production and consumption - 35th;

* Promote peace, justice and strong institutions - 33rd;

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