Maree Brown is Director of the Child Wellbeing Unit in the New Zealand Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is responsible for leading cross-sector work on New Zealand’s first Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which will be published later this year. Prior to her current role Maree held senior positions in Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and has spent most of her career in child and family policy roles.
Late last year the New Zealand Government passed landmark legislation to reduce child poverty and improve child wellbeing. The new laws require successive governments to set and report against targets to reduce child poverty, as well as developing a strategy to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealand children, with a particular focus on those in poverty or with greater needs. Significantly the new legislation was passed with almost unanimous support across Parliament.
The Government has already stated its bold vision for the first strategy which will be published later this year: to make New Zealand the best place in the world for children and young people. As the Prime Minister has said, it presents an opportunity to be bold and ambitious and to achieve meaningful change.
This address will provide an update on the development of the first strategy, and the information that is helping to inform it – including key insights from children and young people on what good wellbeing means to them, what gets in the way and their ideas about what needs to be done.
It will discuss the outcomes the Government is seeking for all children and young people and the need to work differently within government and with other sectors if we are to realise those outcomes. Finally, it will talk about the importance of framing public communications and narratives about child wellbeing in a way that builds momentum and wider support for the things that will make a difference.