Election 2014: What the parties say about housing

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In the second of our blogs in the lead up to Election 2014 we examine where our politicians stand on housing and how these policies affect children. The first blog in the series was about child poverty in New Zealand

By Deborah Morris-Travers, UNICEF NZ National Advocacy Manager.

Once upon a time, the Kiwi dream included home ownership.  These days, renting a warm, dry home and having stable tenancy can often be as big as the dream gets.  For many, home ownership is not considered possible.

In the absence of any regulation, housing costs – for buying and renting – rose steadily during the 1990s then soared in the period 2001-2008, and since then have only fallen back very slightly.  High housing costs lead to families living in homes that are cold, damp, overcrowded and unsafe for children.  They can also lead to families moving frequently, a situation that impacts negatively on children’s education and their sense of connection to their community.

Housing infographic

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In photos: Emergency supplies delivered by helicopter in South Sudan

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For children living in remote rural areas in South Sudan, the lack of basic supplies and services is pushing them ever closer to starvation and deadly illness.

You can help children in South Sudan. Donate to save lives now

These photos show the delivery of life-saving supplies by air in the town of Kiech Kon in the remote Upper Nile State.

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Election 2014: What the parties say about child poverty

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By Deborah Morris-Travers, UNICEF NZ National Advocacy Manager

Getting a focus on children’s issues in an election campaign is challenging when there are so many sectors and issues competing for media space.

However, this election has seen local events spring up (such as through the Tick for Kids campaign), social media is abuzz with discussion, mainstream media are asking some hard questions, and the parties themselves acknowledge that there is more to be done for children.

Over the next three weeks, UNICEF NZ will be focusing on the policies of most of the political parties and how they relate to children, with a focus on poverty and addressing disparities, health, and housing.  Each week we’ll publish a blog, alongside a link to the information provided.

Overall, UNICEF NZ is encouraged by the responses the parties gave us on their policies for children.  There are some gaps but it’s clear that we are getting closer to meaningful dialogue about the issues impacting the rights of children.

One of the contentious issues creating debate is whether or not New Zealand needs a comprehensive strategic plan to address child poverty and reduce the disparities between Maori and Pasifika children, and others.

UNICEF NZ strongly supports a plan that is monitored for its impact and developing such a plan was a key recommendation of the Experts Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. NZPovertyinfographicXSOURCE-FF Read More »

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Hunger crisis in South Sudan

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By Vivien Maidaborn, UNICEF NZ Executive Director

With one-third of the people of South Sudan not knowing where their next meal is coming from, they cannot wait for a famine to be officially declared, writes UNICEF New Zealand excutive director Vivien Maidaborn.

While the world’s attention continues to focus on desperate humanitarian emergencies in Gaza, Iraq and Syria, a large scale hunger catastrophe is silently unfolding in South Sudan.

UNICEF is warning that unless nutritional treatment is scaled up immediately, along with support for water, sanitation, health and food supplies, up to 50,000 children under the age of 5 could die needlessly in the course of this year. That is roughly the population of urban New Plymouth.

Please donate to our emergency appeal for children in South Sudan


Furthermore, a staggering 1 million children under the age of 5 will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014.

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A story of survival and declining child mortality rates

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Zakir Hossain, 5 months old, is held by his parents at their home in Chokoria, Cox’s Bazar on September 2, 2013.

He was born in a private hospital in Chokoria and diagnosed with pneumonia and advised to obtain better treatment. Zakir’s parents sought help at the SCANU unit, where he was looked after for 22 days without having to make any payments.

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