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

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels