UNICEF Aotearoa calls on negotiating parties to
prioritise critical action for children

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As the National Party negotiates to form a government following the general election, UNICEF Aotearoa is calling on parties to prioritise critical action for children in the policy commitments made in the first 100 days of Parliament.

Moving children out of poverty and prioritising climate action are two key areas in which UNICEF Aotearoa is seeking political commitment. 

UNICEF Aotearoa's Director of Advocacy and Programmes, Tepania-Ashton says the organisation is concerned the 100-day plan put forward by National doesn’t sufficiently address child poverty and only references young people in terms of serious youth offending. Talks of repealing legislation designed to improve outcomes for women and children, including Fair Pay legislation, the Māori Health Authority and the Zero Carbon Act by negotiating parties, would negatively impact the realisation of children’s rights. 

“The potential disestablishment of these initiatives is gravely concerning for children of Aotearoa,” Tepania-Ashton says. “To move children out of poverty, we urge a new coalition Government to stand by cross-party commitments made to reduce child poverty. UNICEF Aotearoa will be holding the Government to account as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

In position statements released prior to the Election, UNICEF Aotearoa calls on the newly elected Government to commit to three steps to move children out of poverty, including expanding the Best Start Payment, making Ka Ora, Ka Ako – the healthy school lunches programme – permanent, and establishing a housing strategy that will ensure the more than 3,500 children currently living in motels have safe, warm, dry and secure homes to live in.

Tepania-Ashton says the Government needs to listen to young people.

“I’ve heard from rangatahi all around the country and they want their voices listened to, as a new Government is formed that will make decisions directly impacting their future. 

“Poverty and climate are key issues for our young people. They are the ones who will live with the consequences of decisions made now. We were concerned that during the campaign child poverty and climate action were sidelined as political issues, when they are both critical to the future of our country,” she says. 

UNICEF Aotearoa has outlined five steps the Government can take to ensure a liveable planet for every child, including signing up to the international Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action. It is also calling for commitment from the new Government to fund a Youth Climate Advisory Committee in the first 100 days.