WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Wellington father urges Kiwis to take action for children


31 March 2012

A Wellington father of two is urging New Zealanders to get off their couches and demand political parties work together to address New Zealand’s appalling child statistics.

Tim O’Donovan is concerned that while the government is on the right track with its public consultation process over its Green Paper on vulnerable children, submissions on which closed on February 28, future governments could simply overturn any positive action.

‘This is not just another issue. NZ is ranked among the worst in the OECD on our outcomes for children. This should be ringing alarm bells across all political parties and signal that we need to do things differently. Implementing stand alone policies that are dropped by the next government will not help address poor child health and wellbeing outcomes.’

Last month Mr O’Donovan launched an online petition to Prime Minister John Key urging him to show political leadership and create a cross-party accord on child poverty. The online campaign launched through change.org asks people to send a message to John Key to show political leadership on this issue.

‘As the Government quite rightly recognises, poor outcomes for New Zealand children are not going to be addressed overnight. We need to ensure we have rigorous data on how we can improve the livelihoods of New Zealand children based on information about what is working. This can only be gathered over time when we may see significant changes in the parties forming successive governments. The best way to ensure that we are building a brighter future for all New Zealand children is for political parties to work together to create a cross-party accord that results in well resourced, sustainable long-term interventions.”

‘The Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett is on record as saying that the Government isn’t afraid to challenge itself in finding solutions to address NZ’s poor outcomes for children. Working with other political parties on this issue is likely to be a challenge both for the Government and other political parties. However, it’s time to rise above party politics and to work together to ensure that all New Zealand children have the opportunity to thrive, belong, and achieve.’

People interested in supporting the campaign by sending a message to John Key can do so.

Tim O’Donovan is a former lecturer and secondary school teacher and has worked both in the New Zealand education system and in Zimbabwe. More recently he has been the director and general manager of two non-government organisations.

For more information on the campaign contact Tim O’Donovan tim.od@xtra.co.nz or 021 158 0146.