Children's Commissioner won't call it the 'Ministry for Vulnerable Children'

  • 19/08/2016
Anne Tolley (Getty)
Anne Tolley (Getty)

The Children's Commissioner is refusing to use the English name for the newly formed Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

Some critics are concerned the name stigmatises the very kids minister Anne Tolley says it aims to protect.

Judge Andrew Becroft insists he will only use the ministry's Maori name - Oranga Tamariki.

"To be immediately confronted with a badged official - someone from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children - it's a big load to place on families that struggle and it's a big label to put on children."

Mr Becroft says the Maori translation - "the wellbeing of our young" - better shows the vision of the new ministry.

But at the end of the day, Mr Becroft says it's the substance of the organisation that's important.

"It's a fundamentally different organisation that received widespread support across the whole community, and if that is translated into detailed action, we will have a world-leading system…

"It's the chance of a lifetime to get it right, and we've got to emphasise that."

The ministry's first minister - Ms Tolley - has defended the name as "aspirational", particularly its Maori version.

Both Labour and the Green Party say the new ministry should instead be called simply the Ministry for Children.

"A broad safety net is needed, and a Ministry of Vulnerable Children is only going to assist those at the very bottom of the heap," says Greens social development spokesperson Jan Logie.