New Zealand has performed poorly in a global report card on children’s well-being, and Kiwi kids will continue to miss out unless there is a massive upheaval in how children’s best interests are served, says child rights organisation UNICEF NZ.
New Zealand was ranked 34th out of 41 EU/OECD countries, according to the latest report issued by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti. The Innocenti report measures how well countries perform in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified as most important for child well-being.
Across the SDGs, New Zealand performs best in “Sustainable cities and communities” (9th) and worst in “Good health and well-being” (38th).
Among the findings:
- In SDG 1, End Poverty, New Zealand 19.8 per cent of children are living in relative income poverty.
- New Zealand ranks 18th in SDG 2, End Hunger, with 10.9 per cent of children below the age of 15 living with an adult who is food insecure.
- New Zealand ranks 38th for SDG 3, Ensure health and well-being. The neonatal mortality rate is 3.1 children per 1,000 (the same as in 2005) and the adolescent (15-19) suicide rate is 15.6 per 100,000 - the worst of all countries measured. New Zealand has the 6th highest teenage birth rate - 23.3 birth per 1000 females aged 15-19.
- In SDG 16, Promote peace, justice, and strong institutions, New Zealand has higher than average child-homicide rate in the comparison, putting New Zealand 33rd overall.
"This is a wake-up call for us all" says UNICEF NZ's National Advocacy Manager, Dr Prudence Stone. "Contrary to the way we'd like to think, New Zealand is evidently not the greatest place to grow up in. The more we've focused on New Zealand's economic well-being, the more we've lost sight of our children's."
Dr Stone says New Zealanders who care for the nation's long-term benefit must demand greater action from government to leave no child behind and ensure their health and well-being.
The Report Card shows that even in high-income countries progress does not benefit all children, says Sarah Cook, Director of UNICEF Innocenti.
“Higher incomes do not automatically lead to improved outcomes for all children, and may indeed deepen inequalities. Governments in all countries need to take action to ensure the gaps are reduced and progress is made to reach the SDGs for children.”
To view the full Innocenti Report Card, click here
To access UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti website, click here