13 Oct 2012

Ministry for Children wishy-washy - Bennett

10:06 pm on 13 October 2012

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says a plan by Labour to set up a Ministry for Children is "wishy-washy".

She says a new structure proposed in the Government's White Paper on Vulnerable Children will be better than setting up a new government department.

The new structure involves setting up inter-departmental groups to look after the interests of children at risk.

Ms Bennett said on The Nation on TV3 on Saturday that setting up a specialised ministry would be paying lip service to the issue.

She said the Government would ensure officials from departments including health, education, justice and police would be made accountable for this work.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says her party is committed to setting up a Ministry for Children when it returns to government.

"We believe that there are massive savings to be made for taxpayers by being much more focussed on early intervention and prevention.

"A Minister for Children would bring together housing, justice, health, education - and bring about the kind of action Kiwis expect."