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Dunne welcomes 'middle NZ' Families Commissioners

Dunne welcomes 'middle NZ' Families Commissioners

United Future leader Peter Dunne today expressed delight at the "middle New Zealand feel" of the first six appointees to the Families Commission.

"It was always absolutely crucial that the Commission came from within us as a people, and that has been achieved," he said, in jointly announcing the inaugural commissioners with Prime Minister Helen Clark.

"They are high calibre appointments, who I have no doubt will place the Commission hugely within New Zealand's social, political and policy fabric."

The Commission delivers on a core United Future election platform, as part of its commitment to putting families first in New Zealand politics - something that has not been done before, Mr Dunne said.

"We said we would deliver this to the families of New Zealand; we said that we would bring them and their needs to the forefront of the political and social agenda, and United Future is delighted to have delivered on that pledge.

"From Chief Commissioner Dr Rajen Prasad right through, they are individuals who have already contributed immensely in a variety of ways to our society. And I have absolutely no doubt that they will drive the Commission for the good of New Zealand's families."

Chief Commissioner Dr Prasad was equally enthusiastic.

"From the outset, I believed that the Families Commission was an idea whose time had come, and this is a motivated group of highly credible people" he said.

"It really was and is something that can add value to New Zealand as a society that understands itself, and places the highest value on the health and well-being of its core building block - the family," Dr Prasad, the former Race Relations Conciliator, said.

"There is no disputing the size of the job ahead, but when I look at the people named today to join with me in that task, I'm very confident that a huge step in New Zealand's development is being taken and families will be understood and supported. "The Families Commission will change New Zealand for the better," Dr Prasad said.

Mr Dunne said the Commission will not just be about needy families, but will draw upon and model from the success of functioning families of many types.

"And particularly with it policy role, it will play a significant part in ensuring future government decisions are constructed with a view to what is best for families.

"We do it with the economy, and Treasury's input and recommendations. It is time the family was given equal importance and not treated as an after-thought," he said.

"The economy, education policy, these things are abstract. If they do not result in a good outcome for the children and families of New Zealand, then they are essentially meaningless. That is the direction the Commission takes us in," Mr Dunne said.

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