We’re committed to supporting Kiwi kids – and making sure New Zealand is the best place in the world to be a child.
Giving kids the best start in life
Our Families Package means families all around the country will see their weekly incomes rise – including many families who have missed out under the policies of previous governments, and families who might be feeling the pressure. With it, 384,000 families will be an average of $75 per week better off.
- Our extension to Working for Families will make it easier to raise a family in New Zealand. We’re boosting Working for Families for all those currently receiving it, and widening our reach – offering support to over 30,000 more families.
- We've extended paid parental leave to 22 weeks, which will be further extended to 26 weeks by 2020.
- We are also giving extra support to all new parents in their baby’s first year with the Best Start Payment – because in those first months, everyone can use a little extra help.
- We're providing $105 million over four years for a clothing allowance for children supported by an Orphans or Unsupported Child’s benefit, which was previously limited only to children in care.
- We're extending youth justice to age 17, with extra funding for youth justice.
- We have established a Royal Commission to investigate historic abuse and violence towards children in state care and are in the process of developing a comprehensive strategy to promote the overall wellbeing of children and tamariki. We're extending this Inquiry to include faith-based institutions.
Going to school without breakfast or lunch is far too common for too many of our kids. Our plan to provide lunches in schools will make sure the kids who need it most have at least one decent meal a day. It’s another step towards our goal of halving child poverty and making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.
Helping kids stay healthy
- We've extended free doctors’ visits and prescriptions to under-14-year-olds – 56,000 newly eligible children.
- We’ve also made going to your GP cheaper and easier for many New Zealand families, cutting GP visits for 600,000 people by up to $30.
- We're expanding school-based health services to cover decile 4 secondary schools.
- We know that cold or damp living conditions are a major factor in getting sick. Our Healthy Homes Guarantee makes sure all kids and their families living in rental properties can stay warm and dry at home.
- Our Winter Energy Payment helps families in need keep their homes warm and healthy to live in through the colder months.
- We take mental health seriously. We announced a Ministerial Inquiry into mental health in January, to make sure everyone that needs help gets it, including our children and adolescents.
- We introduced counsellors into Canterbury schools in quake affected areas, where there has been a 93 per cent increase in demand for mental health services for children and young people since 2011. We want to wrap more care and support around these children at an early age.
Supporting our schools
- We've set an ambitious goal of building the best education system in the world. We're developing a 30-year strategic approach to help us get there.
- We funded hundreds of new classrooms and 1,500 new teachers.
- We’re increasing support for early childhood education to ensure every young New Zealander gets a great start to life. This includes our release of our draft 10-year early learning strategy, now open for consultation.
- We're increasing access to additional learning support and the amount of support each child gets, with an additional $284 million investment over four years.
- We're investigating developing Māori pathways, including creating Māori wānanga and integrating te reo into schools - our recent hui with Māori experts will serve as a foundation for development going forward.
- We want to make sure Kiwi kids have access to further post-secondary education or training if they choose. That's why we introduced first-year fees free for tertiary study.
- We saved nationwide school stage competition (Stage Challenge).
Reducing child poverty
- We're improving the Government’s efforts to reduce child poverty by establishing the expert Child Poverty and Child Wellbeing Units.
- We're expanding the sample size of the Household Economic Survey from about 3,500 households to 20,000 households, to provide a more accurate picture of child wellbeing and low income, so we can make sure our policies are making a difference.
- We've established The Safety of Children in Care Unit within Oranga Tamariki - a new unit and reporting system designed to reduce the harm experienced by children in care, to identify higher risk areas which need to be investigated, and, most importantly, to understand the risk factors and make changes to avoid such harm in the future.
Safeguarding NZ's environment for our kids to enjoy
- We're protecting our environment for future generations. That's why we announced no new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration, no new permits for mining on conservation land and a ban on microbeads.
- We set a target for a net zero emission economy by 2050.
- We are well on our way to planting 1 billion trees across the country.
Have a look here for a wider overview of what we're doing for families in general - and keep an eye out for any updates to come!