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Merging Commissions The Obvious Thing To Do

media release
Wednesday 10 December 2008

Merging Families And Children’s Commissions The Obvious Thing To Do

“In difficult economic times reducing costs and making the public service work as efficiently as possible must be a priority of Government. A merger between the Families and Children’s Commissions is one example of how this could be done,” says Greg Fleming, Maxim Institute’s CEO.

“Even more importantly merging the two agencies would result in higher quality work based on a more holistic understanding of people. Children only exist within the context of families. The very idea of a Children’s Commission, operating outside of the Families Commission, endorses an individualistic focus which ultimately undermines and weakens our view of relationships.”

“A Families Commission which encompassed the interests of the Children’s Commission could look at issues like child abuse in their full context, rather than over-simplifying them,” says Mr Fleming.

“The issues facing children are complex and always involve their broader family context. When we tackle these issues, which are affecting our society so deeply at the moment, we need to be able to ask questions like why are children who grow up without both their biological parents present so much more likely to be abused? What does this mean for how we prioritise strengthening and supporting families?”

“We need to be realistic about how hard many families are finding it at the moment and the added pressure financial hardship places on relationships—the impact on children when relationships fall apart can be devastating. Conversely being part of a strong and functioning family can be positive for children in a myriad of areas, from education to mental health. The possibility for a joint Commission to examine these issues in a more comprehensive way is an exciting one, which has the potential to benefit New Zealand enormously,” says Greg Fleming.

ENDS

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