Which one of the following Ministers is most important to the future of New Zealand?
Minister of Tourism
Minister for Children
Minister of Racing
Minister for Senior Citizens
Minister for Rugby World Cup
Which of those do we not have?
When I think of the future — at least in terms of potential — I tend to think about advancing the welfare of children … education, safety, health, poverty, their parenting, the whole lot.
Now certainly there will be other things that affect their future well-being …like whether we squander their environment or build for them an economy that pays survivable — let alone attractive — wages right here in NZ.
But those broader issues aside, doesn’t it make sense to have a Minister-level advocate for children? Who else is going to represent them — the future — at the adults’ Cabinet table, where the agenda otherwise is ‘How can we save our skins today’?
Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King, in a recent speech to her party on the subject of New Zealand’s kids, noted that a 2009 OECD report ranked NZ 29th out of 30 countries for child health and safety.
She proposed a Minister for Children, and a way to pay for it.
Party politics aside (like Labour’s history with the former Racing Minister), isn’t this an idea worth considering?