A new year means a wealth of resolutions. Most of us want to make life better, challenge ourselves or realise some of our ambitions. But what does 2015 hold for the many children living in deprived homes across New Zealand? What can they hope and dream about in the year ahead: a warm home, a fridge that isn't empty or a decent pair of shoes perhaps?
Too many children face the grinding reality that, despite living in what is a prosperous and peaceful country for most, their families will struggle to provide for them in 2015.
These are the 180,000 kids missing out on the nutritious food, books, and clothing needed to grow healthy bodies and brains. They are the 40,000 kids living with chronic poverty-related illnesses, who see the inside of hospital more often than a kindergarten or kohanga reo.
They are the babies who are five times more likely to die before they turn one and 10 times more likely to go to hospital because they've been maltreated.
They are the kids born into homes where sole parenthood and frequently moving house have left the family isolated from family support and social services.
They are the kids whose parents are working three jobs on low wages and are never around to do homework, or play. They are the kids who some try to convince themselves do not exist in New Zealand.
Our society has enough to ensure that every child has a decent standard of living if we choose to. The question is whether the Prime Minister's new-found political will to address child poverty is sufficient to deliver the changes our children need in 2015 and beyond?
With the opportunity of a new year and a new political mandate, will the Government deliver a new approach to child wellbeing? At the top of Unicef NZ's wish-list for 2015 is a government plan that sets targets for reducing poverty, as well as co-ordinating the actions and investment of central government, councils, non-government organisations, businesses, communities and families so that we can monitor progress.
Second, we call for the introduction of robust policy processes so that policies can be assessed for their impact on children, including the vulnerable groups of children in sole parent homes, children living with disabilities, Maori, Pasifika, those in homes reliant on welfare benefits, and those in the early years of life. It should be a requirement that all law and policy upholds the best interests of children.
Third, a review of current tax credits, the accommodation supplement and child support to ensure we are doing everything possible to ensure adequate provision is made.
Fourth, is the obvious need to build more social housing and make sure that rental properties meet minimum standards of safety, through a warrant-of-fitness process or similar. Insecure tenancies and affordability issues mean families become transient and this has big impacts on children's education and security.
Fifth, ensure that health services and education are universally accessible and responsive to all families.
If central government gets these things right, local government, businesses and communities can get on with utilising local knowledge and leadership to co-ordinate developments that build safe and vibrant communities. Connected communities - in which families know and support each other - act as a protective factor for children.
Yet, few of us know our neighbours' phone numbers or the names of the children in our street. Rebuilding community and pursuing local solutions to poverty and violence is an essential part of the picture.
Any Prime Minister or Treasurer worth his or her salt would know that demographic projections and the $10 billion annual cost associated with child poverty and maltreatment are a liability.
And any New Zealander wanting a strong economy and a safe community will know that our children need a healthy start if we expect them to do well as adults. Only time will tell whether 2015 is a year of meaningful action by government and communities to address child poverty and give every Kiwi kid the chance to not only survive, but to thrive.
Deborah Morris-Travers is the national advocacy manager at Unicef New Zealand.
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