New Zealand is a relatively rich country as measured by income per capita. You would think this would be a place where children and young people are flourishing. For many this is not the case.
According to the recent Innocenti Report Card 14 by UNICEF, out of 41 high-income countries, New Zealand ranks 34th for the wellbeing of children and young people on the internationally agreed sustainable development goals. In the health and wellbeing goal New Zealand ranks 38th having the highest rate of suicide for young people aged 15-19 at 15.6 per 100,000. In New Zealand 19.8 per cent of children are living in relative income poverty with food insecurity having an impact on 10.9 per cent of our children below 15 years. We rank 34th in the promoting economic growth and work goals with 7.1 per cent of young people aged 15-19 not involved in education, employment or training.
‘These statistics paint a picture of many young people being left behind in a country that should be able to provide for all’ said Quentin Abraham, President of the New Zealand Psychological Society. ‘However, this is not a time for wallowing in pity and attributing blame’, he said, ‘this report calls for action from the Government and us all to develop policies and programmes that make sure children and young people are able to live full and active lives. Our children and young people deserve a fairer distribution of New Zealand’s resources. Let’s make this happen now’.