The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession means this will be one of our country’s most important elections, as the parties who form a new Government will be making decisions that will impact on our society for years to come.
Therefore, this election offers a unique opportunity to reshape New Zealand’s society so child poverty is dramatically reduced and possibly even eliminated.
To achieve this, Child Poverty Action Group will be outlining policy recommendations in the areas of income, health and housing over the coming week, to better inform voters and political parties about how child poverty can be effectively addressed.
The first set of policy recommendations are aimed at the health and disability sector.
CPAG Health spokesperson and paediatrician Dr Innes Asher says New Zealand needs a health and disability system that cherishes and supports our children.
“CPAG believes that a strong health and disability system can contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand being the best place in the world to be a child,” she says.
“And given children and their families living in poverty are at additional high risk of experiencing a whole range of physical and social challenges, the system supporting them with their health needs must be robust and comprehensive to ensure they are not held back by preventable illnesses.”
The key recommendations include; ensuring universal health coverage up to 18-year-olds, greater wraparound services for those with disabilities and for those who are pregnant, and that the system is managed under a centralised framework in place of the existing fragmented system.
Dr Asher says that an increased focus and resourcing to improve the health of children in low income communities is needed to reduce health inequities and to ensure New Zealand is the best place to raise a child.
“We can’t afford to allow our high rates of hospitalisation for children, with preventable diseases to continue. New Zealand can be the best place to grow up, but it starts by making sure we have a healthcare system that matches our aspirations.”
For more, go to cpag.org.nz/resources/
election-2020 to watch a video interview with Dr Asher as she discusses CPAG’s policy recommendations for healthcare policy.