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The effectiveness of public investment in New Zealand children

1000 days to get it right for every child.

New Zealand has one of the poorest rates of investment in the first years of our children’s lives in the OECD. That results in poor outcomes for our children costing the economy about 3 percent of GDP.

Every Child Counts commissioned the respected independent economic consultants, Infometrics Ltd. to undertake a study of the economic cost of our low public investment rates.

They found that -

  • New Zealand is one of the most poorly performing countries in the OECD in terms of outcomes for children (28th out of 30 countries).
  • We also have one of the lowest rates of public investment in children in the OECD (less than half the average public spend per child under the age of 6 years).
  • The investment we do make ranks as one of the least effective.
  • A tentative estimate of the cost of poor child outcomes in New Zealand is approximately 3 per cent of GDP (around $6 billion).

View the full version of their report

View the short version of their report

We also commissioned the University of Auckland to undertake a similar investigation in to public investment in Māori and Pasifika children.

They found that -

  • Māori and Pasifika children suffer disproportionately in low living standards
  • New Zealand is developing a brown social underclass
  • new models and policies are needed to address family violence, particularly the violence suffered by children in low income families
  • new measurements and indices of well-being are needed that reflect Māori and Pasifika values, spirituality and capabilities
  • a poverty removal strategy must sit alongside the existing wealth creation strategy.
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