28 May 2017

Voice of children should be listened to - advocate

7:44 pm on 28 May 2017

The new tamariki advocate at the newly-formed Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, was interviewed for the job by a panel of children.

Hoani Jeremy Lambert

Hoani Jeremy Lambert wants government departments to give children a direct voice in decision making. Photo: Supplied

Hoani Jeremy Lambert was also interviewed by an adult panel.

Mr Lambert will be advocating for children within the department on issues like youth remand facilities.

He said the questions asked by the children were very at times confronting.

"Oh very different, so very direct and that's one thing parents will know is that sometimes the observations and questions coming from children they're unfiltered and for children who have been through significant trauma, you need to be able to paint a picture of hope but also you need to be honest about the things you can control and those that you can't."

Mr Lambert said he wanted more government departments to give children a direct voice in decision-making.

He said although children were the biggest consumers of government services, they were also disenfranchised as they didn't have a vote.

The voice of children should be listened to, he said.

"We have to work even harder to make sure that our policy processes, our service design processes are including the voices of children right from the point at which we're setting our government priorities."

Last week, New Zealand scored poorly in an international survey on respect for the views of children.

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