New Zealand and the UNCRC
New Zealand adopted the UNCRC in 1989 and ratified it in 1993.
However, the New Zealand government entered three formal reservations to the Convention, meaning that they would not upgrade New Zealand laws to comply with certain articles.
The reservations are: Children whose parents do not have a legal right to be in New Zealand are not entitled to education, health and welfare benefits; There is no minimum age or agreed conditions of employing children; and Children in custody can be held with adult prisoners in some circumstances.
The last time the UN Committee on the Right's of the Child observed New Zealand's progress on child rights was at a meeting in Geneva on 7 October 2010.
From that meeting, the New Zealand government was sent a 'list of issues' from the Committee that, under the Convention, still needed to be resolved. The New Zealand government then responded with its own report. This response was considered by the Committee and a final 'concluding observations' document was sent to the New Zealand government on 4 February 2011.
The New Zealand government is expected to report on the implementation of the current observations in its next periodic report due in May 2015.
As part of New Zealand’s UNCRC reporting process in 2010, Save the Children New Zealand commissioned a report, 'Hear Our Voices We Entreat' , which included the contributions of 199 vulnerable children and young people living in New Zealand. This report was presented to the New Zealand government - bullying, child abuse, domestic violence and gang recruitment were all common themes.
Since then, we have implemented an online platform, called the Hear Our Voices Values Exchange , which engages young New Zealanders on the issues that matter to them and promotes deep thinking and enables clear communication about social issues that affect us all. For Save the Children New Zealand, it is a chance to listen to what children and young people have to say so that we are better informed to engage with them, as well as with policy makers, schools and other organisations working with and for New Zealand’s children and young people.
You can download the documents mentioned above here: