Northland is the only region that has a rising teenage birth rate.
Researchers have attempted to understand why, to no avail. Yes, Maori have a higher teenage birthrate and the Maori population is high in Northland, but the same can be said of the East Coast. Yes, the unemployment rate is high in Northland, but the same could be said of the Bay of Plenty.
I don't expect any candidate to promise to change the trend, but whatever is driving it will be some policy failing - however indirect.
While Northland has a relatively high Māori population at ages15-19 (46%), it is not as high as in Gisborne (62%), which has better education and employment outcomes. Bay of Plenty has the highest teenage unemployment rate (15%), and a relatively high proportion of Māori (41%), both similar to Northland, but the teenage birth rate (37.8) - while third highest after Northland (45.6) and Gisborne (45.4) - is considerably lower and has declined while Northland’s has not. These local regional differentials suggest a complex mix of economic circumstance and ethnicity.There may also be a rural-urban divide in terms of access to sexual health services, especially for teenager.