In the 2014 election the issue of Child Poverty featured strongly in social media, through hashtags like #thrivingkids and #child poverty.  

Watch this space to see if these remain issues in #election2017

Information from the 2014 election

Ministry of Health report – The Health of New Zealand Children 2011/2012

Good news
  • Almost all children (98%) are in good health, according to their parents.
  • Fewer children are being given solid food before four months of age.
  • More children under 6 years are getting free GP visits.

 

Areas for improvement
  • The child obesity rate has increased since 2006/07.
  • Although most children were able to access health care when they needed to, one in five children had an unmet need for primary health care in the past year.
  • Children with poorer health and more unmet need for health care included: Māori, Pacific, and children living in more deprived areas.
Areas for improvement
  • The child obesity rate has increased since 2006/07.
  • Although most children were able to access health care when they needed to, one in five children had an unmet need for primary health care in the past year.
  • Children with poorer health and more unmet need for health care included: Māori, Pacific, and children living in more deprived areas.

Health behaviours

  • Improving trend in the age at which infants are given solid food
  • Most children eat breakfast at home every day
  • More than half of children watch 2+ hours of TV each day
  • Obesity is becoming more common in children

Health status and conditions

  • Asthma remains a common health condition in childhood
  • Diagnosed emotional and behavioural problems have increased

Use of primary health care

  • More children under six years have had a free GP visit

Unmet need for health care

  • Most children were able to access health care
  • Some children miss out on prescriptions due to cost

Oral health

  • Most children had a dental visit in the past 12 months

This summary makes no mention of the interconnection between poverty and health of children.

Between 205,000 and 260,000 children in New Zealand live in relative poverty

Interestingly the Ministry of Health report – Health of New Zealand Children 2011/12 does not mention the five health issues with a high prevalence in NZ (when compared to the OECD) and particularly prevalent  in areas of high deprivation.

These health issues are:

  1. Rheumatic Fever
  2. Serious Skin infections
  3. Whooping Cough
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Bronchiectasis

These health issues are significantly more prevelant in NZ than other comparable countries

These health issues are also significantly more prevalent in areas of high deprivation

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Other Child Indices comparing NZ with the OECD

  • This document showed that New Zealand is one of the few countries in the OECD whose policies are inadequate in a number of areas in protecting the wellbeing of children.
  • Twenty-four OECD countries have at least one dimension where a blue value (that is half a standard deviation higher than the OECD average)  is recorded.
  • New Zealand has  no dimensions half a standard deviation higher than the OECD average (neither do Poland, Turkey and the United States).
  • New Zealand is below the OECD by a half standard deviation (grey) on two dimensions: health and safety and risk behaviours.
  • This table was revised in 2013 but a lack of data on a number of indicators means that the following countries could not be included in the league table of child well-being: Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Israel, Japan, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Turkey.
  • According to this document, in 2009 New Zealand’s suicide rate for young males was the highest in the OECD.

Overview of Party Policies – source The New Zealand Herald 9 September