We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world for children and young people. The Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy sets out a shared understanding of what children and young people need and want in order to be well, and what we can and should be doing to support them. It will guide us to improve the wellbeing of all children in New Zealand.
Labour is already rolling out our plan to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. That’s why we’re:
- Reducing child poverty and mitigating the impacts of poverty and socioeconomic disadvantage by expanding the Lunches in Schools programme to 200,000 children, which will create thousands of local jobs, help ease the pressure on parents, and ensure our children have the energy to learn
- Better supporting children and young people via Oranga Tamariki, and tackling family and sexual violence by increasing the support for 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Plus we’re boosting support for agencies that make women, children, and everyone affected by violence safer in their homes
- Better supporting children and young people with higher needs, with an initial focus on learning support and mental wellbeing, by putting more than 600 new learning support coordinators in schools, to work alongside teachers and whānau and make sure young people receive the support they need. Plus we’re piloting mental health and wellbeing support in primary and intermediate schools through Mana Ake, as well as extending Nurses in Schools to decile five secondary schools
In addition to rolling out that plan, Labour will continue to reduce child poverty and mitigate its impacts by lifting household incomes and reducing the cost of living for Kiwi families. We’ll do this by supporting people into meaningful and sustainable work, making sure income support allows people to live with dignity, and addressing the housing shortage in New Zealand.
Labour will continue to improve outcomes for Māori within the Oranga Tamariki system by building strong relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi, and exploring options to place any child or young person of interest with wider family first (rather than into state care).
Labour will continue to inspire active, healthy and creative children and young people by rolling out our Healthy Active Learning programme, delivering our strategy for women and girls in sport, and putting 300 artists in schools through the Creatives in Schools programme.
Labour’s achievements to date
During the COVID crisis
We supported around 1.7 million people to stay in work through the Wage Subsidy Scheme, we launched a new payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due to COVID, and we increased income support for Kiwi families and older New Zealanders.
Before the COVID crisis
We passed legislation establishing targets and progress measures for reducing child poverty, amended the Public Finance Act so child poverty reporting would be required in the Budget every year, and set an ambitious ten-year target to halve the rate of child poverty in New Zealand.
We started rolling out the Families Package that will see 384,000 families with children on average $75 per week better off and 50–74,000 children lifted out of poverty, we increased paid parental leave to 26 weeks, we’re on track to steadily increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2021, and we’ve indexed main benefits to wage growth.
Since we came into Government, we’ve also:
- Increased school funding so parents don’t have to pay for school donations or NCEA
- Extended zero fees doctors’ visits for kids to 13-year-olds (56,000 more young people)
- Given the largest ever funding boost to primary maternity services, so midwives can continue to care for mothers and babies, and kids can have the best start in life