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Source: Save the Children

The Government’s commitment to areas supporting children and their families such as early childhood education, public housing, free public transport for under 12s and free prescriptions announced in Budget 2023 have been welcomed by child rights organisation Save the Children New Zealand.
Save the Children New Zealand’s Advocacy Director Jacqui Southey says despite the Government signalling a “no frills” and conservative approach to Budget 2023, she was pleased to see some targeted investment in children and their families.
“While it won’t solve all the problems being experienced by families during the current cost-of-living crisis, it was good to see some wins for families, including those with our youngest children.
“The increased investment in Whānau Ora to provide care for wāhine hāpu and the first 1000 days for their pēpi, is a crucial investment to ensuring pēpi Maori do well. Extending funding to provide 20 hours free early childhood education for families for two years will also provide a real lift for families struggling to access quality ECE – an essential service for our country’s youngest.”
However while Ms Southey noted the extension to the healthy school lunches programme until 2024 as welcome news, she hoped to see a longer term commitment to this vital programme.
“Healthy food should not be a nice to have, or a luxury, it is an essential need, directly affecting the health, mental and physical health of child. Given the increase in food insecurity of children, this is a welcome investment. However, it does not replace the importance of whānau having adequate incomes that can routinely cover the cost of healthy food.
“Too many families in Aotearoa are struggling to access adequate income support to keep pace with our current cost of living crisis. We would like to see urgent action on Working For Families, and greater investment in helping to meet the needs of our families on the lowest incomes, including lifting the child disability allowance, that is currently far too low.”
About Save the Children NZ:
Save the Children works in 120 countries across the world. The organisation responds to emergencies and works with children and their communities to ensure they survive, learn and are protected.
Save the Children NZ currently supports international programmes in Fiji, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Laos, Nepal, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Areas of work include child protection, education and literacy, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation, and alleviating child poverty.