Aotearoa ranked 28th in End of Childhood report

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand is ranked 28th out of 175 countries for the number of children that die before the age of five.

The report by Save the Children International covers children's poor health, malnutrition, exclusion from education, child labour, child marriage, early pregnancy and extreme violence.

Aotearoa comes in behind Australia (17), the United Kingdom (22), Poland (25) and Greece (27). First place is shared by Singapore and Slovenia.

New Zealand CEO Heidi Coetzee says while 28th might not sound that bad, New Zealand's child mortality statistics are appalling

“The report says that children from the poorest households are, on average twice as likely to die before the age of five as children from the richest households.  In New Zealand children living in the most deprived areas are three times more likely to die than those living in the least deprived areas,” she says.

This year’s Child and Youth Mortality Review report also found that Māori and Pacific children are more likely to die compared to children from other ethnic backgrounds, and poverty is a key driver in child deaths in New Zealand.

Coetzee is calling for more government support to protect children.

"While it's good that the government has promised a funding boost of $76.2 million over four years for family violence services, more needs to be done to prevent family violence happening in the first place with the aim of reducing the number of children harmed each year,” she says.

“All children have the right to have a safe, happy and fulfilled childhood."