Dunne: Families Commission refocused to deliver for families

Press Release – New Zealand National Party

Media Statement Hon Peter Dunne MP for Ohariu Leader of UnitedFuture Monday, 5 December 2011 Dunne: Families Commission refocused to deliver for families The Families Commission will be refocused under UnitedFuture’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with National, …

Media Statement

Hon Peter Dunne
MP for Ohariu
Leader of UnitedFuture

Monday, 5 December 2011

Dunne: Families Commission refocused to deliver for families

The Families Commission will be refocused under UnitedFuture’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with National, to bring it closer to its original purpose of being able to really improve the lives of New Zealand families, UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne said today.

Under changes agreed with Prime Minister John Key in confidence and supply negotiations last week, the Commission will have now two broad functions – its existing work headed by a single Commissioner, plus new monitoring, evaluation and research functions to drive quality services for families.

“It will also produce regular, possibly annual, Families Status Reports to measure the pressures on our families and the issues that they face.

“These things change as New Zealand changes, and are not the same today as they were five, ten or twenty years ago, and will be different in five years’ time.

“The Families Commission will need to identify those changing issues and how they impact on families and do work around them,” Mr Dunne said.

The Government will redirect $4 million over four years to fund extra parenting programmes and relationship education in secondary schools.

“From the very beginning the Families Commission was meant to protect families’ interests in the legislative and policy process the same way Treasury protects the country’s economic interests.

“It needs to take that role on more fully and more aggressively, and we are giving it the ability to do so,” he said.

“We want politicians and policy-makers really paying attention to the question ‘what does it mean for families’ on any initiative or legislation, and the Commission needs to drive that.

Mr Dunne said the Families Commission has not yet lived up to its potential and now it is time to do so.

“Basically it got milk-sopped from the very start under Labour.

“Labour turned it into a politically correct, hand-wringing and underwhelming entity in its early days.

“It now has the capacity and funding to step up for families better than it has to date,” Mr Dunne said.

Other key UnitedFuture social policy initiatives secured in the confidence and supply agreement include:
• Investigating cross agency co-operation for further development of ‘Youth One Stop Shops’ support services; and
• Introducing pre-release assessments for all sentenced prisoners appearing before the Parole Board regarding their alcohol and/or drug dependency.
The full National-UnitedFuture Confidence and Supply Agreement can be found at www.unitedfuture.org.nz


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