Despite some progress under the last Labour government, too many children have been allowed to slip through the gaps in this country. And now of course, under a National government, it’s getting worse.
In her conference speech this evening Annette King has renewed her promise that the next Labour government will put children at the centre of policy. She has also announced where funding for a new ministry would come from:
Families Commission to go under Labour
Children are set to be the key focus of any future Labour government, says deputy leader Annette King at the party conference today. She announced that a Labour government would introduce a Minister for Children and disestablish the Families Commission.
About 450 party members are at the national congress at the Wellington town hall this weekend. Deputy leader Annette King’s just finished a speech, in which she outlined the party’s commitment to make children the focus of all policies.
She says when the party wins the November general election; it will establish the ministry to be headed by a senior minister. It is astounding, she says, that we have a minister for racehorses, Rugby World Cup and Senior Citizens, but no minister for the most vulnerable in our community – our kids. It would be paid for by disestablishing the Families Commission. …
King is also promising to hold an Annual Children’s Summit, and to review and rewrite the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act.
Labour says Govt has failed to make children a priority
A Labour government would have in its cabinet a Minister for Children running a department funded with money that now goes to the Families Commission, deputy leader Annette King says …
Ms King said it was essential to have a senior minister with responsibility for children in the cabinet. “The time has come to disestablish the Families Commission and fold some of that work back into a small Ministry for Children,” she said. …
Ms King said she had tried to find agreement with other parties on a plan for children and a long-term strategic direction. “Most other political parties are willing. The pooper at the party is National — John Key has refused to allow his party to join such an approach,” she said.
Under Labour, all government departments and agencies would have to undertake Child Impact Assessments on new and changed policies, and there would be legislation setting out long-term commitments, actions and accountabilities for all agencies.
Ms King was scathing about Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s suggestion a month ago that there should be “a national conversation” about child welfare, and the minister’s intention to draft proposals after that.
“Child abuse is a serious issue…after three years as a minister we are to get a green paper, followed by a white paper, and sometime in the future a policy.
“We don’t need more papers, the work has already been done. Now is the time for action.”
Peter Dunne won’t be happy. But the rest of us should be.