Vulnerable Children's Minister Anne Tolley: 'I'll call it, 'my ministry'
Anne Tolley says she'll be calling the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children a variety of names, including "my ministry".
The Minister announced the agency to replace Child, Youth and Family on Thursday, but its name is not without controversy.
The 'Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki' is set to begin operating by April 2017, with Tolley as the current Social Development Minister taking responsibility for it.
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft criticised the name as "stigmatising and labelling" and has vowed to only use the Maori name "Oranga Tamariki" which meant the wellbeing of our children. He urged all New Zealanders do the same.
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Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says the decision on the name means the government was "sticking to to their agenda to take a very narrow focus" on child wellbeing.
"Nothing I've seen suggests to me that they'll be looking at issues beyond child protection."
However, Tolley said the new name makes it "crystal clear" that it exists to support and protect vulnerable children: "That is its only job. We cannot shy away from this. We can't hide it and dress it up as something else."
Pressed on RNZ's Morning Report on Friday morning about what she'd call the new ministry, Tolley said she would use its formal title but probably also refer to it as "my ministry".
"I'll probably call it 'my ministry'. I'll use both names and the full name depending on the occasion."
Asked why it hadn't just been called the 'Ministry for Children', she said the reason was simple.
"We're not focusing on all New Zealand children, there's over a million New Zealand children and young people. And most of them are perfectly capable... they live in great families who look after them and make sure they have great futures."
"This ministry is going to be unashamedly focused on those children that for one reason or another, are vulnerable."
*Audio courtesy of RNZ