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Families Commission to establish office in Auck

Families Commission to establish a presence in Auckland

The Families Commission is opening an office in Auckland on Wednesday 22 February to make sure the Commission can more effectively carry out its advocacy work in New Zealand’s largest population base.

The Minister for Social Development, Hon Steve Maharey, will officially open the office.

The Commission is an independent Crown entity tasked with promoting the interests of all New Zealand families.

This includes increasing awareness and understanding of family issues, encouraging public debate and looking at the impact of current government policies on families.

Rather than focusing on what a family is, the Commission concentrates on what a family does and what government and communities can do to be more supportive of families.

To do this, the Commission has begun a broad range of research, policy and community involvement initiatives since its inception in July 2004.

As part of their role of giving families a voice, commissioners and staff will regularly talk to families, as well as organisations involved with families, to get their views.

The opening of an office in Auckland will enable the Commission to avoid duplication and more effectively share information and expertise with the network of community organisations already established there.

It will also give better access to a diverse range of families and organisations.

According to 2001 census data nearly a third of New Zealand’s population, including over 293 thousand families, lives in the Auckland region. Two thirds of the country’s Pacific people and almost two thirds of its Asian population live in the region.

The office will have two part-time staff and provide a base for the Chief Commissioner, Rajan Prasad, a former social worker and Race Relations Conciliator, and commissioner Sandra Alofivae, a senior family law practitioner.

The four other commissioners live in Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.

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