Aotearoa New Zealand is a signatory of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive, Chappie Te Kani, led a delegation who appeared before the United Nations Committee in Geneva on 26 and 27 January 2023.
Included in the New Zealand delegation were representatives from Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Ministries of Social Development, Health, and Education.
Representatives from Civil Society also were present for the Examination. They provided extensive reports to the Committee to assist their understanding of progress New Zealand has made, and the opportunities that remain, regarding the Convention being upheld for tamariki and rangatahi in New Zealand.
The delegation updated the Committee on the work that New Zealand is doing for tamariki and rangatahi, including:
- establishing Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry for Children), Whaikaha (Ministry for Disabled People), Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand), and Te Aka Whai Ora (the Māori Health Authority)
- implementing the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 and lifting thousands of children out of poverty
- introducing the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy
- major investments in core services that benefit children, including supporting families through the multi-billion dollar Families Package and tax credits
- increasing paid parental leave
- embedding the Children’s Convention in our primary child protection and youth justice legislation.
The UNCRC Committee welcomed progress that has been made to implement the Convention, particularly in the following areas:
- Setting up Oranga Tamariki and strengthening oversight of the care system.
- Establishing the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care.
- Ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communication Procedure.
- Passing the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018 and establishing measurement and reporting indicators for child poverty.
- Introducing the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.
- Enhancing the child protection and justice systems.
- Allocating additional funding for social support for children.
The Committee made nearly 50 Concluding Observations, consisting of more than 80 recommendations, including incorporating the Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
These Concluding Observations span a broad range of government portfolios and agencies, and they provide a guide on how Aotearoa New Zealand can further improve the lives of tamariki and rangatahi. Each recommendation will be carefully considered as we aim to make New Zealand a great place to be a child and to start and raise a family.