The Minister for Social Development today confirmed that her new Ministry for Vulnerable Children is essentially a rebrand of CYFS making this a squandered opportunity to better the lives of New Zealand children, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern.
“Anne Tolley has led the public to believe that this new ministry would have what she described as a “much wider brief.” But when asked today in Parliament whether the Ministry would be required to develop a plan to reduce child poverty, the answer was a clear no.
“The Minister appeared tongue-tied and confused and couldn’t even answer a simple question when I asked if children living in poverty were vulnerable.
“We know the Ministry is meant to be focused on children at risk of abuse but to have no plan to address child poverty is a massive failure and shows a lack of ambition to lift child well- being in New Zealand.
“The Minister seems keen to hide our devastating child poverty and homeless numbers from the rest of the world. After appearing before the United Nations committee on the convention of the rights of the child, the Minister reported that she was asked about poverty and about “how many children were living in homelessness and did we have an official measure – of course, we do have an official measure.”
“And yet today she refused to acknowledge those measures, or how many children were homeless or living in poverty.
“I genuinely believed that the new Ministry would have a wider remit than CYF, because we all know that it needed one. But the Minister’s answers today show that her view of vulnerability only includes abuse. That is a huge let down, and a lost opportunity to become world leaders on child well-being,” says Jacinda Ardern.