3 News 23 Aug 2012
The Government’s “action plan” to tackle child abuse and illness is being described as a rehash of previously-announced goals which avoid the real issues. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, Health Minister Tony Ryall and Education Minister Hekia Parata launched the Supporting Vulnerable Children Action Plan at Parliament on Wednesday.
* halting the rise in child abuse by 2017 and reducing current levels by five per cent
* increasing infant immunisation rates to 95 percent of eight-month-olds by December 2014
* reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by June 2017
* increasing participation in early-childhood education to 98 percent in 2016.
The policies are not new – their funding was announced in the May budget.
….Labour has replied with a statement from three of its senior MPs – social development spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern, health spokeswoman Maryan Street and early childhood education spokeswoman Sue Moroney. “This shows the Government is out of ideas and is desperately trying to avoid the real issues facing parents and children,” they said. “It’s ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff… the Government is focusing on intervention rather than prevention.” The MPs say the government isn’t dealing with the rising cost of early childhood education that cuts thousands of children out the system and isn’t tackling the causes of illnesses like poor quality housing. “Until it does, initiatives such as this will be little more than words and good intentions,” they said.