The Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy was launched on 29 August 2019, at Kaitao school in Rotorua. The Strategy sets out a shared understanding of what’s important for child and youth wellbeing, what government is doing, and how others can help.
Have you ever heard the saying that New Zealand is the best place in the world to bring up children? What if we flipped that on its head, what if we asked, what we need to do to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. And that’s essentially the vision that we have for our Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. Many of you will know that sometime ago we produced a law that holds the Government to account on reducing child poverty in New Zealand. When we passed that law we said that we knew that we needed to do more than just lift the incomes of family and whanau to improve wellbeing for children. We needed to think about their lives as a whole. That’s why we said we’d produce a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. Now to start with building this work we decided to ask New Zealanders, including children what they thought we needed. We got feedback from over 10,000 people, including 6,000 children. Now I read every postcard that those children produced for that strategy and I can tell you a couple of things that really stood out for me. The number of children that said that they experienced racism or discrimination or felt like they couldn’t always be who they were is something that I didn’t expect and that’s why it’s front and centre in our strategy. Every child deserves to be able to live with a feeling of acceptance, belonging and to be valued for who they are and we know that’s going to take work across all our government. Children raised the importance of education and accessing education but they also said that it mattered to them that their whanau and their family were well supported and they had all they needed to thrive and that’s why lifting family incomes continues to be a big focus in the Strategy as well. Overall, we have 75 different actions in our plan. In the 2019 Budget we’ve put $3.5 billion dollars into supporting the work that we know we need to do, to lift the wellbeing of children and young people in Aotearoa, New Zealand. But we can’t do it alone. These are big complex issues that we’re trying to tackle and it will take an approach of all of government but actually iwi, community, local government as well. We need to work in partnership. So I really encourage you, take a look at this strategy. Tell us whether or not there are things you think you could do in your local community to try and lift the wellbeing of children and young people. How can we work together? Ultimately, though, I absolutely believe New Zealand can be the best place in the world to be a child as long as we all work together.
We want New Zealand to be a place where all children and young people are loved, confident, happy and healthy, and are empowered to reach their full potential.
The Strategy was developed with the help of 10,000 New Zealanders – including over 6000 children and young people, who told us what makes for a good life and what gets in the way. It also draws on the best evidence from social science and cultural wellbeing frameworks.
The Strategy sets the direction for short and longer-term government policy and action. It includes an aspirational vision, nine principles to guide the way we work, and six wellbeing outcomes that outline what children and young people want and need for a good life.
It also includes a current programme of action that agencies are delivering on, and clearly outlines how progress will be measured and reported on so that we can all see the difference being made and where more work might be needed.
The current Programme of Action brings together more than 75 actions and 49 supporting actions led by 20 government agencies. These actions were backed by around $3.5 billion in funding to improve child wellbeing in Budget 2019 and build on the $5.5 billion Families Package in Budget 2018.
A dedicated website for the Strategy will be available shortly – childyouthwellbeing.govt.nz. This website will have fully accessible versions of the Strategy documents.