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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NEW ZEALAND



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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

New Zealand is fortunate that absolute poverty, as defined in the Programme of Action of the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development, 1995 is not part of its economic and social environment. Consequently, the Government has stated that there has been no need to develop a plan and a target date for the eradication of absolute poverty.

The Government believes that sustained and sustainable economic growth and development is the best way to address poverty in general, stressing the importance of productive employment in developing a dynamic approach to individual and family income, and the efficiency of the "safety net" provided by income support systems. The economic reforms of the past decade have provided a sound framework for economic growth and development. During the past two years a Task Force has recommended, and the government has adopted, policies to improve employment outcomes for New Zealanders, in particular for the young unemployed and for the long-term unemployed.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

New Zealand provides a comprehensive set of targeted income support programmes with many supplementary programmes to meet individual and family needs. The government has recently announced a package of tax reductions and family assistance measures which will increase the net income of all low income families with dependent children. This set of policies and strategies is geared to reduce economic hardship for individuals and families in a sustainable way within the context of an overall growth strategy for New Zealand.

Given the substantial amount of policy work already implemented, and the new programme initiatives which are underway, the government has decided that no specific initiatives or other policy measures are necessary.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Several government ministries and departments are concerned with demographic issues. These include: Statistics New Zealand; Department of Social Welfare; Ministry of Housing; Department of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Transport; Ministry of Health; Te Puni Kokiri - Ministry of Maori Development (TPK); and Ministry of Women's Affairs. Other agencies such as the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry for the Environment are also indirectly involved in demographic issues. Additionally, local authorities and women are involved. The New Zealand First Party, a partner in New Zealand's recently formed coalition Government, has proposed the development of a population policy for New Zealand.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects

No information is available 

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

A variety of public information activities contribute to raising awareness of the linkages among population, environment, and sustainable development issues. These include workshops for local government on Agenda 21 follow up, public meetings held during the development of Government's Environment 2010 Strategy, and a variety of local government meetings.

Information   

The New Zealand Official Yearbook - a compendium of facts and figures on New Zealand, published annually by Statistics New Zealand - contains data on, among other things, population, social framework, health and safety, education, employment, science and technology, land and environment, national economy, agriculture, forestry and fishing, energy, housing, transport, and trade.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

New Zealand Official Development Assistance (NZODA) has taken particular care to ensure that women are involved in decision making at all levels of population and sustainable development strategies, policies, projects, and programs. Within NZODA, support for population activities has been channeled mainly through multilateral agencies and international NGOs. The main contribution was NZ$1 million to the work of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and NZ$750,000 to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. In the South Pacific, New Zealand has supported population and development activities on a small scale. In 1995, NZODA provided some support for reproductive health research and for reprinting the publication, Pacific Islands Populations, originally produced by the South Pacific Commission for the Cairo Conference on Population and Development. In addition, NZODA provided financial assistance for the South Pacific Alliance for Family Health, a regional NGO.

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This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update:  April 1997.

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Public Health Commission (PHC), set up in 1993 as part of the reorganization of the health sector in New Zealand, is responsible for improving and protecting public health. The PHC was recently merged with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health, the four regional health authorities who are purchasers of health and disability support services, and public health service providers, all maintain and encourage consultation with key groups and sectors.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Significant changes in road safety policy have been recently implemented to reduce the road death toll. They include the introduction of compulsory breath testing of drivers, the introduction of speed camera-radar systems for enforcement of the speed limit, and compulsory use of helmets by cyclists. Maximum blood alcohol levels have been reviewed, but not changed. A large education programme is currently underway on drink-driving and speeding, and work is being done on penalties for offences. Other changes under consideration include revised speed limits and more stringent vehicle safety standards.

The incidence of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand is comparatively low, 9.8 per 100,000. A total of 413 cases of AIDS were reported by September 1993. New diagnoses reached a peak in 1989 and have leveled off since then. The cumulative incidence of AIDS up to the end of September 1996 was 16.8 per 100,000. Strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS include the promotion of safe sex, education programmes targeted at high risk groups, and a needle and syringe exchange programme for intravenous drug users. These programmes are wholly or partly funded by the Government through the Ministry of Health, and implemented by Government agencies and non-government organizations such as the NZ AIDS Foundation and the New Zealand Family Planning Association.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

Two nationally-coordinated programmes for Maori include a sudden infant death syndrome prevention programme and a smoke free programme. Territorial authorities are required to consider their statutory responsibilities under the Health Act 1956 to improve, promote and protect public health in their districts. Functions with public health implications include the provision of sanitary works such as waterworks and the collection and safe disposal of sewage; and other areas such as liquor licensing; food hygiene; building legislation compliance; dangerous goods; civil defence; and bylaws for public health. Regional council functions that also influence public health include the management of the adverse effects of discharges of contaminants into the environment, and regional transport policies encompassing access, safety, energy, and environmental issues. Some regional public health service providers (i.e. functions relating to public health medicine and regulation, health protection, health promotion and health education, public health nurses etc.) participate in Local Agenda 21 programmes operated by local government. Collaborative working relationships are encouraged to improve, promote and protect public health at the national and local levels, for example between central government agencies, public health service providers, local government and different sectors, such as environment, education and transport.

Status   

Community services and high user health cards continue to be the main means in the health sector for ensuring access to health services. For example, for holders of these cards there are no charges for secondary and tertiary medical services. There are also limits in charging for items and consumables, although a range of subsidies are provided for assistance. There are no charges for hospital inpatient services and many day patient and outpatient services.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

The PHC published a report on the health status of the New Zealand population in December 1993. The Report noted that despite the "high standard of health" that the country enjoys, "infant mortality has improved only slowly over the last few decades, although more recently, New Zealand saw a dramatic drop in sudden infant death syndrome of 33 percent among Maori and 53 percent among non-Maori between 1989 and 1992." The report demonstrated that New Zealand has high rates of injury and death from road traffic crashes, poisonings and accidents in the home. The incidence of heart disease, melanoma, and cancers of the large bowel and lung is also high. Recent statistics show that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma-related deaths in the world. It also has one of the highest levels of youth suicide in the world, particularly among young males (in the 15-24 year age group). The Ministry of Youth Affairs, with support from the Ministry of Health and TPK, is currently developing a National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy The health status of Maori and other Polynesians, for a variety of reasons, is poorer than that of non-Maori and Polynesians.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available

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This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update:  April 1997.

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.
To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is primarily responsible for developing national guidelines on all aspects of education, including national curriculum development objectives. Several other agencies, including the Ministry for the Environment, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry of Agriculture are also involved to some extent in giving specialist advice. MOE is not currently a standing member of the UNCED Implementation Officials Group, but it uses consultative and contractual approaches to obtain advice on environmental education. Stakeholders consulted include the teaching community, women, youth, indigenous people, and the scientific and technical community.

The primary role of the Ministry of Women's Affairs is provision of gender-specific advice to the Government on public policy issues. It has identified a number of key areas for women's progress toward equality. These include work on a greater sharing and valuing of unpaid work and increased employment opportunities; and work in education and training, effective compulsory education for Maori, and effective post-compulsory training, including business skills and industry training.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Education Act 1989 provides for free education in state primary and secondary schools between the ages of five and 19, and attendance is compulsory until the age of 16 years. In 1998 the school leaving age rises to 17. New Zealand is fortunate that absolute poverty as defined by the 1995 Copenhagen Social Summit is not part of its economic and social environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

New Zealand is in the process of developing an environmental education strategy to establish an integrated national approach to environmental education across all sectors of the community. It will be linked to the government's long-term environmental and educational strategies. The strategy--scheduled for completion in May 1998--was developed through a two-year process of consultation with relevant sectors and interested people in the community. Guidelines to assist teachers in integrating environmental education into curriculum subjects are still under consideration by the Ministry of Education and are expected to be completed towards the end of 1998. Consideration is being given to various mechanisms for delivering environmental information and resource material to schools.

The promotion of education for the environment is a stated goal in the government's "Environment 2010 Strategy". The governments' general strategy for education is contained in the document "Education for the 21st Century" which covers from pre school to tertiary levels (and is available to the public from the Ministry of Education.) The Ministry of Education also produces Curriculum Guidelines on specific areas of curriculum. There are seven core curriculum topics namely: health and physical well being; the arts; social studies, technology; science; mathematics; and language and languages. Guideline documents are provided to all schools and are available to the public from the Ministry of Education. Environmental education is treated as a cross curriculum topic. Guidelines on this are currently under consideration (see 2 above).

Many local authorities are developing innovative approaches, policies and strategies for environmental education, which include business and community education as well as activities with schools. Several local authorities, for example, run water conservation campaigns. To increase public awareness local networks of teachers, NGOs, and central and local government officials are being developed in a number of regions. The primary purpose of these networks, which serve as branches of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, is information exchange, especially about local environmental issues and resources.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Ministry of Agriculture has a Sustainable Agriculture Program which aims to raise the awareness of the farming community of sustainable agriculture and related issues. MAF also produces school education kits on sustainable agriculture which seek to educate young people about New Zealand's agriculture and to survey changes in land management and planning.

Aside from this programme there are other innovative education activities related to sustainable development such as the "Land care Trust" initiative, administered by the Ministry for the Environment which provides information and training to people interested in establishing land-care groups. NZODA also sponsora a number of regional initiatives in this area. Examples include: Agricultural Institutional Strengthening Project: Papua New Guinea - to increase the teaching and training capabilities of two PNG colleges and enable them to produce quality graduates, especially female, who will assist in increasing agricultural expertise and production. Project is targeted towards improvement of the welfare of rural people through curriculum development, staff training, farm development and management, and gender training and support at the two colleges. Rural Water and Sanitation Schools Project: Solomon Islands - design and training in the use of water and sanitation teaching resources for primary school and kindergarten teachers as part of a joint SIGOV/NZODA/AusAID Rural Water Supply and Sanitation project. Objective to increase access to drinkable water, sanitary facilities and information about sanitation for rural men and women. Assistance to SPREP - specific assistance is given the environmental education programme within the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

Status 

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No  information is available

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This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th and 6th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997 and 1998. Last update:  April 1998.

For links to public information and education in New Zealand, click here:
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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

A number of local authorities in New Zealand have adopted the principles of Agenda 21 in their strategic planning processes, and at least three local authorities (Waitakere, Hamilton and Wellington) have joined the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Hamilton City is one of 21 cities worldwide in ICLEI's Agenda 21 Model Communities Programme. Most local authorities, in preparing the various strategic planning documents required of them under legislation such as the Resource Management Act and Local Government Act, are giving effect to many of the matters set out in Agenda 21. In many ways their annual, strategic, and district plans can be considered local Agenda 21s. In addition, several local authorities within New Zealand have been active participants in the Healthy Cities-Healthy Communities programme of WHO since 1988. There is considerable potential for the Healthy Cities programme, with its inter-sectoral and collaborative approach, to complement and enhance the development and success of Local Agenda 21s. Some local authorities, for example, Hamilton and Christchurch, are actively promoting sustainable transport systems and have programmes to develop cycle ways and to encourage cycling.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Recent legislative changes have addressed issues of infrastructure and planning that relate to housing. The Resource Management Act put in place a new planning system, with decision making guided by criteria emphasizing impacts on the immediate environment. The Act allows the adoption of a more flexible, integrated and less centralized planning approach. Local authorities are obliged to consult with local communities in preparing their District Plans and these plans play a key role in resource utilization decisions.

The Building Act 1991, established a single National Building Code, replacing a number of Acts and regulations and a multitude of individual codes create by local authorities. This helps to reduce building and compliance costs and hence the cost of housing. Guidance on ensuring that buildings are safe, durable, accessible and energy efficient is provided by 23 documents released in August 1992, which are to be updated on a rolling 5-year review cycle.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

As of 1 July 1993, previous housing policies, which relied on subsidized loans and rental housing, were replaced by an Accommodation Supplement which aims to improve housing choices for lower income households by creating a transferable subsidy that is expected to enhance the efficient use of existing housing stock.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

New Zealand is a predominantly urban society with 85% of the population residing in urban areas and towns. The majority of New Zealanders are physically well-housed, and the adequacy of New Zealand's housing stock is illustrated by statistics which show that in 1991, there were just under 1.2 million permanent dwellings for a population of 3.4 million, or approximately three persons per occupied dwelling. A characteristic of housing stock in New Zealand is the high level of home ownership: 74% of all permanent dwellings were owner-occupied in 1991.

Challenges  

Problems of inadequate or insufficient housing are infrequent and isolated, although it is accepted that some groups, particularly those on low incomes, are disadvantaged in finding affordable housing of a suitable standard. Funding to assist the provision of housing for those with special needs is provided through the Community Funding Agency of the Department of Social Welfare.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

  This information is based on New Zealand's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update:  April 1997.

For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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