New ministry should look after all children

The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says. 

“Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft have warned such a name will stigmatise the very kids it is trying to help. 

“In response to the Minister’s announcement, Judge Becroft has declared that he will only use the name ‘Oranga Tamariki’ for the new Ministry. 

“There is a huge risk that by having such a narrow focus, the Ministry will ignore children who don’t meet National’s limited ‘vulnerability’ criteria. 

“Of course we need to focus on child abuse and neglect, but we also need a plan to tackle poverty and deprivation. 

“That’s just one of the reasons we have called for both a Minister and Ministry for Children for many years. 

“The Government’s decision to appoint a chief executive who doesn’t have much experience in the sector is a surprise. 

“Our hope is that the Minister builds a Ministry with the very best people to look after the wellbeing of our kids, and gives them a remit to do that job too,” Jacinda Ardern.