8 May 2012

Executives urged to make child welfare their business

7:14 am on 8 May 2012

[b Business executives are being urged to take help reduce child poverty.

Business New Zealand and the Every Child Counts group will meet at Te Papa on Thursday to discuss the role of business in supporting better outcomes for children.

Reports commissioned by the group calculate child maltreatment costs the nation at least $2 billion per year and poor child outcomes associated with poverty cost at least $6 billion per year, or 3% of GDP.

TelstraClear chief executive Dr Allan Freeth says this has an impact on how well kids do at school, their ability to later get work, and how productive they are and these are things about which businesses and investors should care.

Dr Freeth says some firms are responding by allowing staff to take a work day for community activities, or by contributing to groups like Save the Children through money or providing skills like financial expertise.

He also says business leaders should stand up and say "enough is enough" on issues such as child abuse, drug-use and youth suicide.

Every Child Counts is a coalition including Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children and Ririki among others.