This World Children’s Day, we’re taking a look at all the ways we’re working to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.
Here’s just some of the things we’ve accomplished over the past three years for Kiwi kids:
- Extended Paid Parental Leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and increased Paid Parental Leave by up to $20 a week
- Boosted the incomes of around 384,000 families by an average of $75 a week through our Families Package
- Expanded the free lunches in schools programme, expected to benefit around 200,000 children by the third term of next year
- Helping families with our Best Start payment, making life easier for parents of young children with an extra $60 a week for up to the child’s first three years
- Giving almost every state school a one-off capital injection of up to $400,000 – the biggest capital injection for school maintenance funding in at least 25 years
- Started turning child poverty statistics around, with the passing of the Child Poverty Reduction Act and our setting of ambitious child poverty reduction targets, as part of our plan to halve child poverty within a decade
- Extended free doctors’ visits to 13-year-olds
- Delivered a funding boost over four years for early learning services to improve the pay of up to 17,000 qualified teachers working in education and care services
- Extended the Nurses in Schools programme to cover decile 4 and some 5 secondary schools, reaching an extra 29,600 students
- Funding 623 Learning Support Coordinators to ensure children with diverse learning needs get the support they need to learn, supporting kids in more than 1,000 schools and kura
- Funded the removal of NCEA and NZ Scholarship fees, helping more than 145,000 households and around 168,000 secondary students
- Taking the financial pressure off parents by increasing funding to decile 1-7 schools if they don’t ask parents for donations
- Building new schools and classrooms for 100,000 students, with a plan to make sure we work with schools and communities to address increasing demand
- Broadened Working for Families eligibility to include 39,000 more families, as part of the Families Package
- Indexed main benefits to average wage increases, which the Children’s Commissioner described as the single best thing we could do to combat child poverty
- Permanently increased main benefits by $25 a week to support Kiwi families
- Developed New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy to help make our country the best place in the world to be a child
- Scrapped the discriminatory sanction that cuts income support to women who have not declared the name of their child’s father, affecting around 24,000 children
- Banned smoking in cars with children to protect young people
- Providing free period products to schools, expanding to all state and state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis next year, in another step to support children and young people in poverty.
Read more about our achievements for children and their families here, and stay in the loop by signing up to our mailing list and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.