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Tick for Kids’ scorecards reveal political parties’ commitments to children this election

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Scorecards released today by Tick for Kids provide voters with important insights into how the country’s major political parties plan to prioritise children in their policy promises this election year. 

Six out of seven of the country’s political parties took part in Tick for Kids’ survey, which asks for commitments to support child-focused policy solutions across eight key areas: care and protection, climate, education, health and wellbeing, housing, inclusion, incomes and youth justice. New Zealand First did not respond. 

Parties were invited to respond with either a ‘tick’, ‘no’, ‘other’, ‘need more evidence’ or ‘skip this question’. Parties were also invited to provide further detail to their response, which many did.

The results reveal that while the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Pāti Māori and The Opportunities Party (TOP) are committed to implement most of the key policy asks for children across all eight areas, Labour, ACT and National’s pledges were more varied. 

“The Tick For Kids scorecards provide voters with valuable insights into just what political parties will do for children should they be elected,” says Jacqui Southey, Tick For Kids convenor and Save the Children New Zealand’s Advocacy and Research Director. 

"This is the third series of scorecards – a tried and tested method of helping voters to understand the implications of their vote for children. We encourage voters to take a look at the scorecards and make their votes count for Tamariki. Essentially when they vote, Tick for Kids.” 

The responses from the parties signal their willingness or otherwise to invest in policies directly benefitting children, or continue to support commitments already made to children, such as access to free or subsidised public transport, healthy and affordable housing, or provision of healthy lunches at school. 

The results across the areas are varied. In Housing for instance, there is reasonable consensus. ACT signalled it is prepared to commit to developing a long-term housing strategy with affordable and culturally appropriate housing solutions, but would not commit to other policy asks related to implementing Healthy Homes Standards, investing in public housing, or addressing youth homelessness. On the other hand, the Greens, Labour, Te Pāti Māori, National and TOP signalled a higher willingness to support these housing solutions.  

For education or incomes, there was less agreement. For example, Greens, Labour, Te Pāti Māori and TOP support the continuation of the Healthy School Lunch programme, whereas ACT said ‘No’, and National ‘need more evidence’. 

“The cost of living crisis in New Zealand calls for political action and voters need to see which Parties commit to the measures necessary,” says Dr Prudence Stone, National Executive Officer for Presbyterian Support New Zealand. 

“Candidates say a lot on the campaign trail but what do they actually promise our tamariki and rangatahi, if and when they get into government? The Scorecards reveal which Parties are not willing to even commit to a living wage, increases to welfare support or accommodation supplements.” 

UNICEF Aotearoa CEO Michelle Sharp says: "Among the seven political parties surveyed, only three have demonstrated strong commitment to prioritising children's education in Aotearoa, whereas four parties are committing to fund Ka Ora, Ka Ako, the healthy lunches in schools policy. 

“Ensuring tamariki are learning on a full stomach is critical as quality education in these formative years serves as the cornerstone for a child's lifelong learning journey. It's crucial to recognise that during the early years of learning, including in the first 1000 days, a child's brain undergoes rapid development, constituting a critical period for cognitive, emotional, and social growth. We would have hoped for all major political parties to exhibit unwavering dedication to improving the learning experiences of our tamariki." 

Family for Every Child’s New Zealand Programme Advisor, Liselle Finlay, said they wanted to see a system that works in active partnership with tamariki, rangatahi, whānau, communities and tangata whenua to prevent and reduce harm and family separation; and provide quality and culturally appropriate alternative care and support services when required. 

“By both investing in, and ensuring more equitable access to, support and culturally appropriate services and approaches, future governments can live up to its responsibilities and promises to care and protect children and help all  tamariki and rangatahi to live with love and mana. We all have a responsibility for the protection of children and wellbeing of our communities.  By working towards a future that uplifts all, we can build a better and more equitable society.” 

For a full analysis of the commitments parties are willing to make for children we encourage voters to review the more detailed analysis that sits behind the scorecards along with party polices providing a deeper level of detail.

Tick for Kids is a collaboration of civil society organisations and individuals deeply concerned about the wellbeing of our children in Aotearoa New Zealand. More information can be found on the Tick for Kids website.   


We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

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