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Why is an early start so important?

Updated: 7 November 2014

It is now universally recognised that the early years are of critical importance in a child’s development. It is in those years that a child’s development is set on the right path.

It is in the first years that the child learns to trust or to fear, to be confident or to be insecure. Social skills are learnt. Inquisitiveness and curiosity are encouraged.

Good health, a loving family and early childhood education are seen as critical factors.

The documents below provide more information on the importance of a good early start for children.

Seven key reasons why the first 1000 days of a child’s life are critical

Why we need to increase investment in the early years

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).

Full Report - 1000 days to get it right for every child

We also commissioned the University of Auckland to undertake a similar investigation in to public investment in Māori and Pasifika children -Te Ara Hou - The pathway forward

They found that -

  • Māori and Pasifika children suffer disproportionately in low living standards.
  • 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.
Netherlands study

The Netherlands Study was commissioned by Every Child Counts to investigate the policies and programmes that have delivered good child outcomes in The Netherlands, and identifies actions New Zealand could take to improve the status and wellbeing of New Zealand children.

The Netherlands Study


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