The reform being pushed through by Tolley is perhaps the most far-reaching undertaken by the Govt and could stand as its greatest legacy if it achieves its goals. Already it has made some headway in improving the lives of Maori children who are more than twice as likely as Pakeha children to grow up in households experiencing hardship, and fare worse in most indicators.
A report by the University of Otago-based Child and Youth Epidemiology Service shows increasing numbers of Maori pre schoolers are getting early childhood education. There’s also been a halving of school suspensions for Maori students, an increase in immunisation rates, fewer young Maori smoking,and falling hospitalisation rates for Maori children for injuries from assault, neglect or maltreatment.
The report is here. Some extracts:
- A drop from 2010 to 2013 of Maori children living in relative poverty using the measure of below 60% of the contemporary median income, after housing costs
- 17% of Maori children in “material hardship” down from 21% in 2011
- The proportion of Māori new entrants reporting participation in ECE prior to school entry increased, from 83.6% in 2001 to 96.3% in 2013.
- Suspension rates for Māori students falling from 18.8 per 1,000 in 2000, to 9.1per 1,000 in 2013.
- Medical admissions with a social gradient in Māori children increased from 2000 to 2001, remained steady through to 2007, increased from 2007 to 2009, remained steady until 2012, and fell from 2012 to 2013 to reach a level similar to that seen in 2001–2007. In contrast, injury admissions with a social gradient fluctuated from year to year in the early 2000s and followed a downward trend from 2006 to 2013.
- During 2000–2013, Māori children’s admission rates for injuries due to assault, neglect of maltreatment increased from 2002–2003 to 2008–09, and then declined
- During 2000–2013, Māori young people’s admission rates for injuries due to assault were variable. The rate for 2013 was the lowest in the whole period.
To paraphrase Life of Brian’s “What did the Romans ever do for us except …”, you might ask “What did National ever do for Maori except ….”