Save the Children presents 10,000-strong petition to retain New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner

The proposed Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill, currently before Select Committee, removes the role of Children’s Commissioner with the authority to report with or without invitation directly to the Prime Minister on behalf of children. Instead, a new Children and Young Person’s Commission is established, run by a Board of between three and six members.

"For more than 30 years, the Children’s Commissioner has challenged New Zealand to do better for our tamariki and has been a powerful public voice for change on crucial issues, such as children in care and child poverty," says Save the Children’s Advocacy and Research Director Jacqui Southey.

"The arguments in support of retaining this champion for children far outweigh any benefits proposed by the bill in its current form - and despite the proposed bill having a major impact on children, tamariki and young people have not been consulted."

The petition will be presented by Ms Southey, Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee and members of the Save the Children Board tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12.30pm to Green Party co-leader and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Hon. Marama Davidson. Due to heightened security around Parliament with anti-mandate protestors, the handover will at made at the rear (Museum Street) entrance of Parliament.

Save the Children’s petition has three key asks:

  1. That the named role of a Children’s Commissioner with a designated term of office is guaranteed in the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill;
  2. That the authority of the Children’s Commissioner is retained in the Bill where the Children’s Commissioner can report directly to the Prime Minister with or without invitation;
  3. That the Bill does not progress any further until the Government undertakes a thorough consultation with children to enable them to share their voice on the role of Children’s Commissioner and the development of the new Children’s and Young People’s Commission.