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Commissioner For Children Bill

7 September 2001

The Commissioner for Children Bill, introduced in Parliament on 29 August, has been welcomed by the Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society. The Section has set up a working group to examine the Bill in detail and expects to make submissions to a Parliamentary Select Committee in due course.

The need for separate legislation setting out the Commissioner’s statutory functions and powers is endorsed by the Section, as is the increase in the Commissioner’s powers.

The recognition of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child inherent in the Bill is attracting particular attention and reinforces New Zealand’s commitment to international obligations in relation to children and young persons. However, the Family Law Section is concerned to ensure that the Commissioner is suitably resourced to fulfil the important statutory duties set out in the Bill.

As the leading organisation within the legal profession in relation to all issues concerning families, children and family law, the Family Law Section plays an important role in acting as the watchdog of children’s rights. The Section will work with the Commissioner in any way possible to carry out this role and, this in mind, met the present Commissioner for Children, Roger McClay, earlier this year. They intend to meet again in October to discuss a wide range of issues including the Bill.

Ends

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