Save The Children Calls To Retain New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner
Save the Children New Zealand is calling on the Government to retain the vital role of Children’s Commissioner as it considers a new bill proposing major changes to the office, including the removal of a named Children’s Commissioner.
The child rights organisation today launched a campaign to ‘Save the Children’s Commissioner’, asking for support from the public to sign an online petition and show the Government ‘that the Children’s Commissioner matters’ to New Zealanders.
The proposed Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill, currently before the Select Committee, removes the role of Children’s Commissioner with the authority to report with or without invitation directly to the Prime Minister on behalf of children. Instead, a new Children and Young Person’s Commission is established, run by a Board of between three and six members.
"In our view, the role of the Children’s Commissioner as it stands is crucial in representing the rights and interests of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tamariki," says Save the Children’s Advocacy and Research Director Jacqui Southey.
"For more than 30 years, the Children’s Commissioner has been a champion for children’s rights and a powerful public voice for change on crucial issues, such as children in care and child poverty."
Ms Southey says while the proposed bill will have an impact on children, tamariki and young people have not been consulted.
"It is vital that New Zealand tamariki themselves have the opportunity to have their say on the role of the Children’s Commissioner and Children and Young People’s Commission.
"The Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly accords children the right to voice on issues important to them and to have their voices taken into account. We are calling on the Government to consult with children before this Bill progresses any further."
Save the Children’s petition has three key asks:
1. That the named role of a Children’s Commissioner with a designated term of office is guaranteed in the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill;
2. That the authority of the Children’s Commissioner is retained in the Bill where the Children’s Commissioner can report directly to the Prime Minister with or without invitation;
3. That the Bill does not progress any further until the Government undertakes a thorough consultation with children to enable them to share their voice on the development of the new Children’s and Young People’s Commission.
People wanting to sign the petition should go to: https://actnow.savethechildren.org.nz/childrens-commissioner/