Children's Commissioner calls for more youth-focused policy

  • 11/04/2018
little boy unhappy sad and tress alone
Photo credit: Getty

The Government faces a plea to be more child-focused in policy moves as it makes addressing child poverty an issue.

The Children's Convention Monitoring Group has released a report titled "Getting It Right: Building Blocks" on Wednesday which outlines the next steps the Government needs to take to make good on promises to children.

"We are currently witnessing significant political commitment to reducing child poverty and promoting child well-being. I hope this translates to changes that mean all children in Aotearoa can enjoy all their rights and entitlements on an equitable basis," says Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

Twenty-five years ago the government promised to do better for all children when it signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

For the last 25 years at least, New Zealand has not been sufficiently child-focused in the development of policy, Mr Becroft says.

"We cannot continue to make policy for children on an ad hoc basis."

The report highlights building blocks that need attention, including supporting children's participation in decisions that affect them.

It says children and their views should be taken into account when new policies are developed.

Children's privacy and best interests must also be considered when collecting information about them; and the Children's Convention should be used to develop a plan for children and their wellbeing.

Recent initiatives such as the Child Poverty Reduction Bill and the proposed Child Well-being Strategy are positive steps towards improving the lives of children in New Zealand, he said.

"We need to ensure these are not one-off actions."

The Monitoring Group monitors the government's implementation of the Children's Convention and the Office of the Children's Commissioner convenes the group.

Permanent members include Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa, the Human Rights Commission, Save the Children New Zealand and the United Nations Children's Fund New Zealand.

The Children's Commissioner is an Independent Crown entity, appointed by the Governor-General.