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Auckland Children's Advocate Resigns in Disgust

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Friday 9 May 2008

Auckland City Children's Advocate Resigns in Disgust

Councillor Cathy Casey today announced her resignation as Auckland City Council's child and family advocate after this week's failure by Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) to recognise or acknowledge any local responsibility for alleviating child poverty in Auckland city.

Councillor Casey says, "I am absolutely disgusted that C&R refuse to recognise child poverty as an Auckland City Council issue."

This week, the Council's Community Services Committee received a presentation from Janfrie Wakim and Donna Wynd from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) on their recent report "Left Behind" which details the impoverished conditions under which many Auckland children live. The report outlines a variety of areas in which councils can play a positive role in addressing child poverty.

Councillor Graeme Easte put forward a motion requesting officers report to the committee on ways in which the council could contribute to alleviating child poverty in Auckland city. It was lost by 4 votes to 3. (In favour: Councillors Easte, Roche and Northey. Against: Councillors Goldsmith, Moyle, Mulholland and Raffills).

Councillor Easte says "I am outraged that C&R councillors feel that reducing child poverty in the city is not a council responsibility. Poverty affects our most vulnerable citizens and it is our duty as a council to advocate for better resources, services and funding from Government to alleviate the problem. As well as an advocacy role, the Council can do many things that cost very little. For example, we could be specifically profiling the children of Auckland City so we can ensure that provision of council programmes and services match their needs."

Councillor Casey says "Auckland City Council has a wonderful child and family policy which identifies a wide range of actions Auckland City Council can take to address child poverty. For example, we have already developed and trialled child impact report assessment. Through this process council policy is assessed for its likely effect on children before that policy is implemented. We determine whether the impact of policy is likely to be in the best interests of children, then make adjustments to avoid or mitigate negative outcomes and to maximise the benefits. If we rolled this out across all areas of council, there would be many positive benefits to the city's children and families."

ENDS

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