Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

MPs asked to put children first

MP’s asked to put politics aside and put children first

A cross-party Parliamentary Children’s Caucus was called for in Wellington today (subs: Wednesday 18 December 2002) at a 200-strong gathering of Members of Parliament and representatives of organisations working with children, who were asked to join the newly-formed Littlies Lobby.

Plunket’s New Zealand President, Mrs Pam Murray asked Members of Parliament to put aside their political differences and come together to establish a cross-party Parliamentary Children’s Caucus.

“There is no doubt that policy-making around children could benefit from a more coordinated and less political approach. Such a Caucus exists in the House of Commons in England and New Zealand children also need and deserve this level of attention and recognition.

“Children need to be put first at all times and not just at Christmas,” said Mrs Murray.

She said the Children’s Caucus would probably meet quarterly and be briefed on current issues by specialists on children’s rights and needs and would also provide the opportunity for policy initiatives and legislation impacting on children to be discussed.

The Littlies Lobby also announced at Parliament today, is the brainchild of the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and the Office of the Commissioner for Children.

Lobby Wellington…2

The lobby aims to draw attention to what parents, families, communities and central and local government can and should do to give children the chance to thrive. It will also ensure that children are ready to start school by the time they are five years old.

Commissioner for Children, Roger McClay, implored adults to consider the lobby’s six key messages and the implications of all they did when making decisions on behalf of children.

“The minute a baby is born, it has an absolute right to be cared for, to be loved, to be respected and to have food, clothing and shelter. It also has a right for its little brain to grow, develop and learn.

“We intend to speak-out on behalf of the littlies and to articulate what they themselves would want to say if they were able. It’s just as important for their voice to be heard as it is for us to hear the voices of industry, commerce, trade unions or environmentalists.

“There are many organisations, agencies and individuals doing wonderful work on behalf of children. We invite them to join us in the Littlies Lobby and help remind New Zealanders of the rights and needs of the youngest in our society,” Roger McClay said.

Plunket’s Chief Executive, Mr Paul Baigent, describes the lead-up to Christmas as a highly appropriate time to be launching the lobby.

“Christmas is a time for celebration when children are most in our minds; a time when we do put children first. Our aim is to ensure they still come first when the Christmas decorations have been taken down,” he said.

Lobby Wellington…3

“There’s a large body of evidence from across the world pointing to the crucial role of the first few years in determining whether we reach our full potential as individuals. A child’s early experiences, parenting and environment have a huge impact on their physical, emotional and intellectual development. “We also know that it’s getting harder for parents to provide children with the care and attention they need. Work pressures, changes in family structures and the pressures placed on families by poverty are all impacting on our children. It really is time to ask ourselves as a country, are we doing the best we can for them?” Mr Baigent added.

Television host and mum, Maggie Barry and Norm Hewitt, Ambassador/Representative for the Office of the Commissioner for Children, joined Mr McClay, Mr Baigent and Mrs Murray in launching the Littlies Lobby.

The lobby’s theme song “Ray of Hope”, composed and performed on CD and music video by Neil Finn, was played at the event and the lobby’s website was demonstrated.

Regional launches for the Littlies Lobby will take place in Christchurch later today and in Dunedin on Thursday 19 December.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages