15 August 2011
Youth Welfare: How Fair?
A group of Maori women are speaking out against the continual negative stigma that young people have to live with. They say this stigma is perpetuated again in the youth welfare initiatives announced by John Key over the weekend. The Maori women instead wish to highlight the shortcomings of the proposed youth initiatives. Spokesperson Marama Davidson says “We need to address the systemic failure of this and previous governments to create innovative policies and spaces where our youth are valued and successful within our communities.”
Te Wharepora Hou, a mainly Auckland based group, says that rebuilding whānau and focusing on whanau strength is key, but the state has to take responsibility for the part it plays in structural barriers to wellbeing. The group says it should not be the role of the government to remove young parents freedom to make choices. It insists that a focus should be on initiatives that encourage young people to make healthy choices for themselves.
Te Wharepora Hou says that Maori young people and children will be disproportionately affected with the Government’s latest youth welfare initiatives. It supports wider calls for a sustainable job creation plan and a focus on building strong communities. Te Wharepora Hou also wants to see evidence of John Key’s suggested punitive approach having good outcomes anywhere else in the world.