Tauranga MP Simon Bridges is commending this week’s announcement by fellow ministers to deliver better services to at risk youth.
Simon says delivering better public services within tight financial constraints is one of National’s priorities for this term of government.
“We want to ensure that we’re delivering results in areas that matter to Kiwi families, while at the same time ensuring services are more productive and efficient. We make no apology for having high expectations of the public services that we provide,” says Simon.
“Supporting vulnerable children is an extremely important area of this work.
“This involves increasing participation in early childhood education, increasing infant immunisation rates and reducing incidence of rheumatic fever, and reducing the number of assaults on children.”
Simon says younger babies are vulnerable to diseases like whooping cough and measles.
“Our target is 95 per cent of eight-month-olds will be fully immunised by the end of 2014. Currently around 77 per cent of eight-month-olds are fully immunised in the Bay of Plenty DHB.”
“The Government has committed $24million to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by 2017.”
“There are currently four school-based throat swabbing programmes in the Bay of Plenty. Three are funded by the Bay of Plenty DHB, in Opotiki, Murupara and Kawerau; one is funded by the Ministry of Health in Taneatua.
“These services cover 26 schools and over 3500 children. Additional funding has been allocated to the Bay of Plenty as part of the additional $12million for rheumatic fever in Budget 2012.
“The Ministry will work with all DHBs, including Bay of Plenty, to include rheumatic fever prevention activities as part of their core business and agree targets for reducing the rate of rheumatic fever.”
“The Government is committed to stopping the continued growth in child assaults and reducing it by 5 per cent, to below 3000, over the next five years. This is an ambitious target considering it is set to reach 4000 on current trends.”
Health Minister Tony Ryal says figures for the 2010/11 year show that in Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty and Kawerau combined there were 124 district clients related to abuse against children. The national figure for the same period was 3086.
“We know remedial spending is often more expensive and less effective than getting it right in the first place. For example, treating rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease costs an estimated $40 million a year in New Zealand.”
Education Minister Hekia Parata says we know that participating in quality early childhood education (ECE) has considerable benefits for children.
“We want kids to go to primary school confident, able to engage, and eager to learn. That is why our plan for education has a target of 98 per cent participation in early childhood education in 2016.
“We are investing $1.3billion in ECE, including $47.9million in equity funding which supports priority learners and communities. This will assist participation in ECE by vulnerable children who are currently not receiving sufficient support to succeed in education.”
Tony Ryall says one of the best things we can do for children is to have them fully immunised from the common childhood diseases like whooping cough and measles.
“It also protects communities from epidemics – and it gets children and their families enrolled with a GP, says Tony.
“We’ve made it a priority to increase full immunisation for two-year-olds from 73 per cent under Labour to 92.8 per cent today. Younger babies are most vulnerable, so now we’re moving the target age. Our target is 95 per cent of eight-month-olds will be fully immunised with the scheduled vaccinations by the end of 2014, and we’ll maintain that, at least until 2017.
“Rheumatic fever can develop into life threatening heart disease but this third world disease is largely preventable.”