NZ’s Human Rights Record Stained by Child Poverty, Lack of Investment in its Young: Amnesty International; UNICEF and OECD

Amnesty International Report 2013

270,000 children, yes 270,000, children are now living in poverty in New Zealand, a country infamous for its low wage culture.


New Zealand’s high level of child poverty, violence against women and a proposed law affecting asylum seekers came under fire in Amnesty International’s Annual Report on the state of the world’s human rights.

New Zealand faces most criticism within the country for its high levels of child poverty, according to Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand.

“The mention of up to 270,000 children living in poverty in this global report is a stain on New Zealand’s human rights record.

It further reinforces the need for New Zealand to protect and respect all human rights in New Zealand law.

“States have obligations to protect, respect and fulfill (sic) rights for all people, for those living in poverty, and also asylum seekers and refugees.

As an important voice for human rights protections on the international stage, the New Zealand Government needs to ensure that all actions taken look to respect all human rights, of all people.

“Human rights are not just about freedom from oppression, they’re also about access to education, healthcare, and adequate housing, and such widespread child poverty in New Zealand is a human rights issue.”

Mr Bayldon said New Zealand had signed up to international covenants on these rights but had not put them into law. Adding them to the Bill of Rights would provide a measuring stick for new laws and policies…

Also criticised was the Immigration Amendment (Mass Arrivals) Bill, which would allow for indefinite detention of asylum-seekers arriving by boat in groups of more than 10 people… ” read the full article about the report here

New Zealand recently fell to 18th place in an international league table for best country to be a mother, perhaps a reflection of its high number of preventable child deaths. (3rd highest according to UNICEF)

In 2009 (OECD Report Citical of NZ Child Welfare Spending) we wrote about how New Zealand was sixth in that year’s best mum table, despite other data showing that children in this country were more disadvantaged than many other key countries in the developed world.

A UNICEF report published last month also criticised New Zealand’s record forchild wellbeing across a variety of measures, including ranking it 21st out of 35 developed countries for levels of child poverty.

New Zealand’s Childrens commissioner, Russel Wills, said

“We should reallocate resources and direct that resource to the most vulnerable and youngest children.”

New Zealand ranked above Italy and Canada but below Britain and Australia. It was almost bottom – 32nd of 34 – for young people not in any form of education, training or employment.”

New Zealand’s under investment in its young is now beginning to be reflected in the very surveys it used to be so proud of, including a poor showing in the Amnesty International’s International Report 2013 and the UNICEF report.

Considering emigrating to New Zealand because it’s such a great place for kids? you may like to think again.

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4 thoughts on “NZ’s Human Rights Record Stained by Child Poverty, Lack of Investment in its Young: Amnesty International; UNICEF and OECD

    • If it existed they’d have to do something about it, rather like racially motivated crime. Officially, neither exists in New Zealand but the evidence is all around.

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