Alliance says young people are our biggest asset, not "the enemy."

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says the Alliance sees young people as one of New Zealand’s biggest assets, who are in the main hard working, caring and enthusiastic, and who make a positive contribution to their communities.

“It seems like our current political leadership instead sees many young people – the future generation – as a threat and a problem. The failure here is the failure of our social system and political system, that has let down many families and communities.”

The Alliance wants to support and encourage our young people, says Ms Murray.

Rather than rely on cynical slogans designed to create a mood of fear and manipulate public sentiment, the Alliance wants to strengthen and support families, schools and other community agencies dealing with at risk young people – long before they reach the stage of criminal offending.

“Children and young people left to fend for themselves, while parents work several low paid, casual jobs to make ends meet, is a recipe for criminal offending and family problems.”

Ms Murray says the Alliance would introduce free after school and holiday programmes in every locality for school aged children.

She says the Alliance would restore the universal child benefit, and make sure that minimum wages and benefits are set at a level that provides a livable income for families, reducing stress and dysfunction.

“We need to promote flexible work that benefits workers – rather than flexible work that is all about maximizing profits at the expense of family life and community involvement.”

Ms Murray says the Alliance is committed to a totally free education through to the tertiary level, with no school fees, donations, or expensive camp or day trip costs to discourage families from keeping their children at school.

The Alliance will ensure that the Government provides all the funding and equipment schools need to provide quality education for all their students.

“Our key goal is a maximum class size of 20 students in all primary and secondary schools, with even lower student teacher ratios in low decile schools or where there are pupils with disabilities.”

Ms Murray says the Alliance Party recognizes that young people usually drop out of school or training for a reason.

“Often they are not succeeding due to learning or behaviour problems. The Alliance would make sure that schools and other training institutions get the resources they need to deal effectively with difficult students, and help them successfully complete their education.”

Ms Murray says above all the Alliance would listen to and value our young people – not use them as political footballs.

For more information, contact Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray on 0211672843 or email kaysimmondsmurray@alliance.org.nz