MPs New Zealand look to Netherlands teen pregnancy success

Dutch Green Party MP and former Senator Ans Zwerver arrives in Wellington on Tuesday 12 August. Invited by FPA’s International Development unit, she will meet with the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development to discuss how domestic policy can successfully reduce teen pregnancy rates, and how these policies mirror the Netherlands’ commitment to international development.

NEWS RELEASE


4 August 2003

MPs look to Netherlands teen pregnancy success

A former Dutch MP is in Wellington next week to offer New Zealand MPs and others insight into why the Netherlands has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the world and meets its international aid obligations.

For every 1000 women aged 15 to 19 in the Netherlands, there are 5.5 births. This compares with 25 in New Zealand.

Dutch Green Party MP and former Senator Ans Zwerver arrives in Wellington on Tuesday 12 August. Invited by FPA’s International Development unit, she will meet with the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development to discuss how domestic policy can successfully reduce teen pregnancy rates, and how these policies mirror the Netherlands’ commitment to international development.

Ms Zwerver will also meet with government officials and non-governmental organisations to discuss the Netherlands’ dramatic policy shifts and resulting success in lowering teenage pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted infection rates.

Family Planning Association Executive Director Dr Gill Greer said New Zealand has much to learn from the Netherlands’ whole of government approach and commitment to comprehensive sexuality education and open communication.

The Netherlands is one of just five countries that has met, and exceeded, the key international development target to spend 0.7% of gross national income on official development assistance (ODA), whereas New Zealand spends .23% of GNI on ODA.

The Netherlands has also been the leader in honouring the commitments of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), including financial support to reproductive health and rights of women in developing countries. Around 6% of Dutch ODA is spent on reproductive health programmes related to safe motherhood, family planning, prevention and treatment of unsafe abortion and of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development was established in 1998 following the ICPD. The all-party group works to increase debate and information about global population issues including sexual and reproductive health and enhance New Zealand's contribution to development projects that focus on reproductive health in the Pacific and Asia.

Ms Zwerver recently set up the Netherlands All Parliamentary Group on Population and Development. This is her latest achievement in a political career that spans more than 20 years and during which time she has become recognised as a human rights advocate.

ENDS
For more information please contact:

Dr Gill Greer, Executive Director, Family Planning Association (04) 384 4349; or
Jan Keir-Smith, Communications Coordinator, Family Planning Association
(04) 384 4349, Mobile 021 915 107

To arrange an interview with Ans Zwerver please contact: Chris Te’o, programme coordinator, FPAID, DDI 801 2620, email chris.t@fpanz.org.nz

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