May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

UN Committee on Rights of the Child recommends actions for New Zealand

2 min read

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has given its recommendations on how New Zealand can do a better job for its children.

The New Zealand Government presented its report to the UN Committee in January. The committee also received reports from the Childrens Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission, along with shadow reports from NGOs.

Chief Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said the committee had produced a balanced and constructive l assessment of how well New Zealand children are able to enjoy their human rights. It acknowledged and applauded the many initiatives to improve the lives of children over the past decade. As part of its role the committee also makes a series of recommendations.

The recommendations clearly spell out what more must be done not only by government but also bythe community as a whole, including the business sector, she said.

With the school year starting, Ms Noonan said the UN committees recommendations on education were highly relevant.

Among the six recommendation on education the committee has urged the government to ensure all children have access to high quality early childhood education and that such education be free for disadvantaged families.

The committee also addresses the cost of education and the issue of voluntary school donations. It recommends the Government: (e) Take steps to ensure that parents are not pressured into making donations to schools and those children are not stigmatized if their parents do not, or are unable to, make such donations.

Ms Noonan said, New Zealand has been a world leader in the provision of quality education. But financial barriers to full participation in early childhood education and school undoubtedly contribute to the woeful underachievement of almost 20 per cent of our children and young people. We all pay the consequences for lack of education.

Underpinning its recommendation on education is a major recommendation based on an all of government approach.

While it welcomed initiatives such as increased Government spending in the childhood sector and the Working for Families tax credit scheme, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends more urgent action to address long established poverty and inequalities that see an estimated 20 per cent of children being brought up in poverty.

The committee recommends a strategic shift in the Governments budget: collating the expenditure on children across all departments, accompanied by a strategy to ensure spending explicitly benefits children, with milestones and measures to ensure progress on the key issues of poverty, inequality and underachievement. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was released 4 February, in Geneva.

Read the UN Committee on Rights of the Childs recommended actions for New Zealand (PDF).

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