Families Commission Bill passes first reading

Wednesday 25 July 2012, 1:37PM
By Paula Bennett

A Bill to streamline and refocus the Families Commission passed its first reading in Parliament yesterday, says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

‘’This Bill will restructure the Families Commission changing its function and governance structure,’’ says Mrs Bennett.

‘’This is an opportunity to remodel the Commission so it can provide independent research and evaluation on key issues impacting upon families.

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, has identified a gap in the social sector for this type of research.’’

The Bill also proposes revamping the Commission’s structure with one commissioner replacing the existing seven.

Of the $32.48 million funding the Families Commission receives over four years, the Government will reprioritise a minimum of $14.2 million over four years to set up a new Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit.

These changes give effect to the confidence and supply agreement with United Future.

A further $4 million over four years will be redirected to fund extra parenting programmes and relationship education in schools and the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health programme.

Mrs Bennett says the Families Commission will continue to carry out its current main function of advocacy for families.

The restructure is expected to be completed early next year.