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Commissioner For Children’s Role Strengthened

Commissioner For Children’s Role Strengthened With Bill

Boosting the powers and functions of the Commissioner for Children demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the human rights of children, says Social Services Minister Steve Maharey.

In introducing the Commissioner for Children Bill, Mr Maharey said that the Bill improves the fit of New Zealand’s domestic legislation with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which New Zealand ratified in 1993.

"The Bill when passed will contribute to improving outcomes for children by strengthening the ability of the Commissioner for Children to protect the rights, welfare and interests of children.

"The Commissioner’s new functions will include:

- promoting the establishment of accessible and effective complaint mechanisms for children and monitoring complaints

- raising awareness and understanding of children’s interest, rights and welfare

- acting as advocate in the general sense for children’s interests, rights and welfare, and in that regard, advancing and monitoring the use of the Convention by government

- presenting reports to any court, at the court’s request, if there are issues in the proceedings relating to the Convention or the interests, rights or welfare of children generally

- promoting children’s participation and an approach that gives weight to their view, in decisions affecting the lives of children.

- reporting to the Prime Minister on matters affecting the rights of children.

"An additional $2.8m over four years was provided in June budget to enable the Commissioner's Office to take on these increased responsibilities.

“This is important new legislation which puts the Commissioner’s independence beyond question and takes an unprecedented step in raising the profile of human rights for children,” said Steve Maharey.

Ends


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