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Maharey backs UN decision to postpone summit

13 September 2001 Media Statement

Maharey backs UN decision to postpone children's summit, reiterates Government's commitment to issues

The New Zealand Government supports the decision of the United Nations to postpone a special session on children, which was due to begin in New York next Wednesday, and is reiterating its commitment to to making New Zealand a great place for children.

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said he had now been officially advised that the UN Special Session on Children has been postponed indefinitely. Mr Maharey had been due to lead a 5-member delegation to the Special Session.

He said that work by the Government to develop an Agenda for Children, as well as other initiatives, was continuing and would ensure New Zealand's preparation for the Special Session would continue to pay dividends for children.

"In the light of the tragic events which have unfolded in New York this week the UN General Assembly has made the only sensible decision to postpone this important meeting.

"I know that New Zealand's delegation was very much looking forward to attending the Special Session, including 17-year old Te Kerei Moka from Christchurch and 12-year old Jessica Dewan from Auckland who I spoke with last night.

"Te Kerei, in particular, had been selected to make an important contribution. He was one of only six young people world-wide chosen by the Secretary-General to participate in the round-table discussions with leaders from around the world.

"In my own address to the General Assembly, I planned to stress New Zealand's ungoing commitment to building a better place for children in our society.

"New Zealand has a positive message to share with UN-member states and I intend to do so when the Special Session is rescheduled.

"In particular I think other countries will be interested to hear that the Labour-Alliance Government is:
„h developing an Agenda for Children setting out our vision for children, drawing on more than 3500 submissions made by New Zealand children;
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„h increasing the powers and resources of the Commissioner for Children to raise the profile of human rights for children and give them a more effective advocate; and,
„h providing significant additional funding for Child, Youth and Family to enable them to provide professional services to children and families in crisis and to support organisations working to build strong communities.

"New Zealand will also support UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for the UN General Assembly to immediately adopt the draft programme of action for children which the Special Session was to consider.

"It is bitterly ironic that senseless terrorism should intervene and prevent the nations of the world from collectively progressing a global agenda for children.

"New Zealand will press for the Special Session to be convened as soon as it is sensible to do so. In the meantime, the Government's commitment to making this country a great place to be a kid in continues unabated", Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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