New Zealand's high youth suicide rate highlighted in new report

New Zealand's high youth suicide rate has been highlighted in the latest international report on children's wellbeing.

NZ ranked 34th out of 41 EU/OECD countries in the report by the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti.

The report looks at how well countries perform in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

New Zealand performs best in "Sustainable Cities and Communities" - ranked 9th, but comes dead last in the "Good Health and Well-Being" category - 38th overall.

But it's the high adolescent suicide rate that is really highlighted in the report.

The rate of 15.6 youth suicides per 100,000 people puts NZ at the bottom of the table.

NZ also has the 67th highest teenage birth rate, with 23.3 births per 1000 females aged 15 to 19.

UNICEF NZs National Advocacy Manager Prudence Stone says the report is a wake-up call.

Sunday's Jehan Casinader was only asking this question as a scene-setter. The answer left him gobsmacked. Source: Sunday

"Contrary to the way we'd like to think, New Zealand is evidently not the greatest place to grow up in. The more we've focused on New Zealand's economic well-being, the more we've lost sight of our children's," Dr Stone says.

The report says high incomes do not automatically lead to improved outcomes for all children, and may in fact deepen inequalities.

Dr Stone says Kiwi kids are continuing to miss out.

The report also finds 10 per cent of children under the age of 15 are living with an adult who is deemed "food insecure".

Deputy Labour leader Jacinda Adern says "failing to put food on the table is more common than the Government cares to admit".

"The report shows that national income alone is no guarantee of a good record in sustaining child wellbeing."

New Zealand did not receive a ranking last year due to insufficient data on performance across the SDGs.

The wellbeing of Kiwi kids was ranked 24th out of 41 OECD countries. Source: 1 NEWS

Construction takes a dip in latest GDP figures

A dip in construction activity has taken the shine off New Zealand's economic expansion.

New figures show New Zealand's economy expanded by half a per cent in the three months to March, slightly slower than many economists had been forecasting.

It follows an increase of 0.4 per cent in the December quarter and it puts the annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rate at three per cent.

Three per cent is still a solid rate by historical standards.

When population factors are taken into account however GDP growth per capita decreased in the quarter by 0.1 per cent.

Statistics New Zealand says much lower building activity combined with mixed results for the service sector took the shine off higher dairy production and saw a second quarter of moderate overall GDP growth.

It says at an industry level 11 out of 16 industries increased this quarter, with agriculture and retail trade having the biggest increases.

However, construction fell 2 .1 per cent, with all building sectors showing a fall.

Statistics New Zealand says non-residential building construction was the key driver of the fall.

Figures from Statistics NZ show economic activity grew by half a per cent, slightly below market forecasts. Source: 1 NEWS


Ambitious young couple crowd fund for Christchurch's first cat cafe

An ambitious young couple are crowd funding to open the South Island's first cat cafe.

Nate Ball and Alyssa O'Connor are aiming to raise $25,000 for Catnap Cafe, which if successful will double as a cafe and centre for homeless cats.

The pair volunteer at Cat Rescue Christchurch but say they want to help "even more" homeless cats of Christchurch.

With well over $5,000 raised on Kickstarter and climbing quickly, the couple are hoping to provide a unique cafe experience to the people of Christchurch.

"Post-earthquake Christchurch is constantly changing and we want to be part of that change, to be a positive presence in a community that has been through a lot over the last several years," the pair wrote on Facebook.

"The cat area will be a place for people and cats to come together in a fun and cosy environment with comfy couches, bean bags, cat toys, boxes and basically anything awesome we can find/build to keep our cats happy."

The couple hope to open their cafe by February 2018.