Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Hon Steve Maharey Speech - An Agenda for Children

Hon Steve Maharey
11 April 2001 Speech Notes

An Agenda for Children


Speech to mark the launch of the Children's Agenda Discussion Document


Welcome.

It’s great to see you all here.

It has certainly been a morning of extremes as you can see by my less than formal attire.

Laila Harré and I have just left the Aro Valley school holiday programme where we launched the Agenda for Children consultation.

I don’t think we could get more polar opposites than a kids school holiday programme and a parliamentary briefing.

Although I suspect some members of the public might disagree.

What a refreshing opportunity to spend some time in an environment saturated with vibrancy and the excitement of children at the start of their holidays.

Unfortunately it can be a rare event for politicians such as myself to get the opportunity to hear first hand what young people think about growing up in New Zealand.

I can tell you they have a lot to say and a lot we need to hear.

One young chap in particular was very enthusiastic about his views on being a young person in New Zealand.

The feedback this morning from the kids on the programme was very encouraging and convinced me that we are heading down the right track with an Agenda for Children.

I can assure you a great deal of work has been achieved since we met last year at the Seminar on Children’s Policy where the initial work on an Agenda for Children was done in conjunction with many of you here today.

The contribution of the members of the reference group appointed shortly after this seminar has been invaluable in helping the Ministries of Social Policy, and Youth Affairs move along on this very important initiative.



I think that you will all agree that in the past it has been uncommon for the government to take account of the views and insights of children and young people.

So you might ask why focus on children now?

Its because we are tired of seeing too many children suffering the effects of poor housing, bad health, family violence, and learning difficulties – the whole gamut of disadvantage imposed by the jeopardy of poverty.

This cannot go on.

In order for our child policy to be effective we need to know what issues children and young people are facing in their lives and what this mean for the future.

What better way to find out than to ask those who know.

By talking to children, young people, their parents, and organisations who work with them and people such as yourselves, we can take steps to ensure our policy is reflective of the needs of some of our most under-represented members of society.

The Agenda for Children discussion paper encourages us all to take collective responsibility for protecting and promoting children’s interests, rights and needs.

Over the next 10 weeks these booklets launched today will be the basis for discussion by various organisations and individuals working with children and young people.

As you can see both the Children’s Discussion Pack and the Discussion Paper for adult groups, and individuals with an interest in children’s issues are certainly eye catching.

The booklets set out early government thinking on a vision, principles, key goals and possible priority action areas for child policy.

At the same time, hundreds of children and young people aged 5-17 years will be asked about what makes New Zealand a good place for them, what would make it better, and what they consider to be the important issues for children and young people.

Given what I saw and heard this morning, I am sure there will be an influx of responses from young people wanting to let us know their views.

This Government believes that a broad, child-focussed approach to policy and the delivery of social services is essential to protect the interests of the child. This approach must also reflect the richness and cultural diversity of our country.

By adopting a two pronged approach incorporating both social policy and research the Agenda will provide a plan for work by Government over the next five years.


I know it may take some time to reverse the impacts of the economic reforms over the last decade. But by setting achievable goals the Agenda will realise its vision of making New Zealand a great place for children.

It is not far fetched to conceive a vision where children are viewed as valuable and respected members of our society. Where they live free from poverty and violence, that services are funded and delivered in a way that responds to their interests, rights and needs.

I don’t believe this is some utopian view, majestic in its vision but unattainable in reality.

However, its success is dependent upon co-operation across all government policy sectors. This is a promise the coalition government made when it came into office – that we would foster a relationship with the community based upon respect and openness.

Already a number of different initiatives that dovetail with the Agenda for Children are making a difference in the lives of New Zealand children.

Work on the Child Health Strategy, the Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Education and various other initiatives to address disadvantage like Family Start and Social Workers in Schools.

Complementing the Agenda for Children is the Ministry of Youth Affairs Youth development Strategy Aotearoa that Laila Harré will launch later this month.

She will expand on this shortly, but I can assure you that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Social Policy are working in tandem on these key projects.

Before I hand you over to Laila I want to express my gratitude to the enormous contribution of the Working Party Reference Group, and the various organisations and individuals committed to improving the lives of our children and young people

Your energy and vision makes a difference.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Mosque Shooting Response: Ban On Military Style Semi-Automatics And Assault Rifles

Military style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned in New Zealand under stronger new gun laws announced today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says... Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.

“An amnesty will be put in place for weapons to be handed in, and Cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme...All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned." More>>

RNZ Report: No Mention Of Right-Wing Threat In 10 Years Of GCSB/SIS Docs
There is not one specific mention of the threat posed by white supremacists or right-wing nationalism in 10 years of public documents from the Security Intelligence Service or the GCSB. More>>

Two Minute Silence Friday: Auckland Mosques Opening Their Doors To All
Mosques in the four corners of Auckland will open their doors on Friday night for people of all faiths to gather in remembrance of the 50 lives lost in the Christchurch shootings. More>>

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK
For the Latest: Scoop Search - Christchurch
 

Gordon Campbell: On The School Climate Strike

Locally, the school strike has won a ton of support for bringing climate change to the fore. Yet the strikers don't want mere expressions of support. They want action. More>>

ALSO:

"Grabbed And Struck In The Face": Greens Co-Leader Attacked While Walking To Work

Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack when he was walking to work in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

████████ ████ ███: Latest OIA Statistics Released

The latest statistics cover 110 agencies that collectively completed 18,106 official information requests between July and December 2018, a 16.4% increase on the 15,551 requests for the previous six months. More>>

ALSO:

'Hit And Run' Inquiry: New Legal Action Over Secrecy

The lawyer representing the Afghan villagers in the inquiry into Operation Burnham has launched legal proceedings calling for a judicial review in the investigation. More>>

ALSO:

From Hydro Plan To...: Mokihinui River Land To Join Kahurangi National Park

A total of 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. “Adding this area, roughly half the size of Auckland City, to Kahurangi is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history,” Eugenie Sage said. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels