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Commission recognises vital role of parenting

Families Commission recognises vital role of parenting

The Families Commission announced today recognises the vital role of parenting to the future of New Zealand, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

The Families Commission, which was promised as part of the confidence and supply agreement between the government and United Future New Zealand, will be established by 1 July 2004. It will be an autonomous Crown entity, led by a board of up to seven part and full-time Commissioners, and will have responsibility for: advocating for families and promoting better understanding of family issues and needs amongst government agencies and in the wider community; promoting, purchasing and disseminating research into family issues; and contributing to policy development across the government as a key stakeholder on family-related issues.

Legislation to establish the Commission will be introduced to Parliament during 2003 and a budget bid to finance its establishment and operations will be considered as part of the 2003 Budget process.

Steve Maharey said he welcomed the Families Commission’s inclusive approach to New Zealand families.

“Questions of family size and structure are for people to decide for themselves. The Families Commission will concern itself with the issues faced by all New Zealand families, and by specific types of families.

“I particularly welcome the initial focus of the Commission on those families caring for children or other dependents (for example elderly parents, or adult family members with disabilities).

“Successful parenting is crucial to the overall strategy of creating a knowledge society. We can’t expect young people to grow up with aspirations and dreams, and be ready to part of the kind of society that we are creating, if they come from neglectful or abusive homes where parents simply do not know what to do.”

Steve Maharey also acknowkledged the contribution made during the negotiations by United Future’s family spokesperson Judy Turner and Labour MP Tim Barnett, who reports to him as a Parliamentary Private Secretary.

“Supporting families was an important element in Labour, the Progressive Coalition and United Future’s pre election policies. Under the umbrella of the Families Commission these commitments are now being honoured.

“The Families Commission allows us to ‘join-up’ the expertise of the non-government, academic and government sectors. It will act as an advocate for families generally, rather than dealing with an individual family’s specific case. As such it will have a close working relationship with other advocacy agencies, including the Office of the Commissioner for Children,” Steve Maharey said.

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