Family First NZ says the appointment of the just-retired Chief Families Commissioner Rajen Prasad to the Labour party list confirms concerns that the Commission wasn’t independent enough to truly represent families.
“We were always concerned that the Commission wasn’t independent enough to represent the voice of families on important issues, for example the anti-smacking law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Despite an overwhelming number of families opposed to the law change, the Families Commission blindly supported the legislation. The appointment of Rajen Prasad to the Labour party list suggests that the Commission was more concerned with listening to the government’s agenda than to the concerns of families.”
Other perceived biases included
the shutting down of research by the Rotorua People’s Advocacy Centre which was funded by the Commission, and which highlighted the concerns of solo parents on the DPB. The research was muzzled by the government through the Ministry of Social Development and the Families Commission because they didn’t agree with its conclusions
the inability of the Commission to acknowledge and promote the benefits of marriage and importance of family structure, especially as it relates to domestic violence, child abuse, and poverty
silence on whether the government emphasis on early childhood education is in the best interests of very young children, and families in general
“The plethora of Commissions that we have in NZ will only be of benefit when they are independent enough from the government of the day to represent the sector that they are supposed to without hidden agendas or future career opportunities.”
“The concerns we expressed about the independence of the Families Commission, or lack of it, appear to have been confirmed,” says Mr McCoskrie.