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Cross-Party Group could mediate Kiro plan

27 October 2006

Cross-Party Family Violence Group could mediate Kiro plan

Green Party Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford has called on the Cross Party Working Group on Family Violence to support the latest version of Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro's plan for checking on children at key stages of their lives.

Ms. Bradford has also suggested that the Working Group could take the lead in mediating any privacy concerns associated with the Commissioner's initiative.

" The Cross Party Working Group could serve a useful role here by bringing the privacy issues to the table, and helping to hammer out a monitoring system consistent with the Commissioner's proposal, but that could include safeguards against inappropriate data matching, and sunset clauses about when the information will be expunged."

"I believe Ms Kiro's plan would be an example of the non-partisan type of programme which all parties in this House could support - including National, which has left the working group.

"While the Green Party has concerns about potential privacy issues around what happens to information gathered, overall we are supportive of anything which can be done to improve how children are cared for by their families and society.

"New Zealand has some of the highest rates of violence, neglect and abuse of children in the developed world, and we therefore need to be promoting the kind of pro-active approach that the Commissioner is taking, aimed at ensuring all children are given a chance to grow up alive and in one piece.

"I welcome the way in which Ms Kiro's plan it makes key workers within support agencies - Government or community sector - accountable for each child. At the moment one of the biggest problems we have is that there is little accountability from any particular Government department or other organisation for the welfare of any particular child, as we've seen in some of the most tragic cases of child homicide over recent years.

"I realise some parents will be horrified by the idea that their children will have regular checkups at key stages of their lives - just after birth, before starting school, starting adolescence and leaving school - but I think it is even more horrifying that so many children in New Zealand today are enduring violence, abuse, neglect, ill health and despair because either no one knows or no one thinks it is their role to take responsibility for what is going on."


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