Green Paper puts priority on children

  • Paula Bennett
Social Development and Employment Youth Affairs

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is developing a Green Paper to kick off a national conversation on how we value, nurture and protect children.

“By taking a Green Paper to the nation, we’re inviting New Zealanders to be part of this visionary approach,” says Ms Bennett.

“We can do better by our children in taking a planned, long-term approach to tackling a wide range of issues that affect children,” says Ms Bennett.

The Green Paper will focus on the needs of children and young people aged 0 to 18 years, with a special focus on under five-year olds.

It will contain a range of issues for New Zealanders to consider, for example:

  • Information sharing to protect children
  • Tracking at-risk children
  • Greater use of schools after hours, for a range of activities
  • Mandatory reporting of child abuse
  • Whanau-first placements for children in state care

The entire process will bring together health, education and the social sector.

“This Government is not afraid to challenge ourselves, the public and policy makers by floating ideas and inviting feedback,” says Ms Bennett.

“If we are to do more of what works, we simply have to do less of what doesn’t. It’s time we asked ourselves when government should get involved in family’s lives and when it should get out of the way.”

“And when government does have to be involved, we need to ensure we’re responding in the best possible way,” says Ms Bennett.

The Green Paper will be written by a multi-disciplinary team with input from key stakeholders and advised by a scientific and academic reference group.

“New Zealanders have a substantial opportunity to discuss and respond to the Green Paper and it will form the basis of a White paper which will include a Children’s Action Plan,” says Ms Bennett.

“This is too important to leave to government departments, because the wellbeing and welfare of our children and young people matters to each and every New Zealander,” says Ms Bennett.