Minister to attend UN Committee in Switzerland

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley will this week lead a delegation to Geneva to discuss New Zealand’s Fifth Periodic Report under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

The treaty, ratified by New Zealand in 1993 and which includes a total of 195 countries, requires states to report to UNCROC every five years on the progress being made on children’s rights, while identifying areas which need further work.

“This is an opportunity to address the UN committee responsible for UNCROC, and I will be able to update them on the broad programme of work going on right across government agencies to improve the lives of New Zealand children.

“This includes Children’s Teams, Well Child Tamariki Ora services, the Youth Crime Action Plan, free doctors’ visits for children aged up to 13, Whanau Ora, and welfare reform.

“I will be highlighting the important initiatives that have been introduced since New Zealand submitted our Fifth Periodic Report, such as the $790 million child material hardship package, which came into effect on 1 April 2016. This raised benefit rates for families for the first time in 43 years, increased Working for Families payments for low income working families and increased Childcare Assistance payments.

“We are also completely overhauling our care and protection system. The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, will be completely child-centred and by law will be required to listen to the voice of children, and will focus on prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending.

“As part of this work we are also raising the age of state care, investigating raising the youth justice age, and establishing an independent youth advocacy service.

“I look forward to discussing these issues with the UN Committee.”

The Minister will leave New Zealand tonight, returning on 18 September.