Welcome change to Ministry for Children

I don’t know whose idea it was to rename the Ministry of Child Youth and Family to something stupid earlier this year, but in a small but welcome change the Ministry for Children is being renamed again.

NZH: Ministry for Vulnerable Children to be renamed

The Ministry for Vulnerable Children will be renamed with the word “vulnerable” being dropped, while legislation to help lift children out of poverty will be introduced on Thursday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcements at her post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon, with Minister for Children Tracey Martin and Finance Minister Grant Robertson alongside her.

Ardern said the ministry, over time, would look to extend its reach beyond just the 5600-odd children in state care.

“A child who lives in poverty won’t necessarily come into contact with those social workers that work in Oranga Tamariki [the Ministry For Children], but we want the ministry to have regard to their well-being as well.”

Martin said dropping the word “vulnerable” from signs would take 12 months. The word had had a negative impact on children and the ministry’s workers.

The name was like having a Ministry of Sick and Dying People, Or a Ministry of Bleeding Taxpayers.

“What the children have told us, and social workers in the last six weeks have told us, is that that word actually stigmatised those children,” she said.

One small step for the Government, and a few more thousand dollars down the gurgler, but a welcome change.

Previous Post


  1. Gezza

     /  December 11, 2017

    Good move. Blame National for the money wasted on changing signage. It was an appallingly bad taste name for a department.

  2. PartisanZ

     /  December 11, 2017

    Well, you and I may think that Gezza, but from a National Party marketeers point-of-view it was the perfect name: A triumph for some ‘agency guy’ somewhere.

    It identified the macro-data-analysis determined “complex-needs social group” to be targeted by ‘Social Investment’ policy. Their name writ large on all the signage. All those who enter here stigmatized for all to see.

    Hater vote winning stuff …

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  December 12, 2017

      It was a clumsy one. But a person can be vulnerable for many reasons.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 12, 2017

        Well, if you think that people don’t know why other people are going into WINZ, you are mistaken, P-Z.

        • PartisanZ

           /  December 12, 2017

          So you agree they should be stigmatized Miss Kitty?

          Which stigma do you believe is warranted? Which do you prefer to brand them with?

          Don’t superannuitants go into WINZ offices?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 12, 2017

            WILL you stop putting words in my mouth ? It is seriously annoying. I am tired of having to say that I did NOT say that-you remind me of the sort of school pupil who deliberately misunderstands so that (they hope) one will waste time repeating something.

            Where did I say that I agree that they should be stigmatised ?

            Where did I say that I think that they should have a particular stigma ?

            Do stop acting like a fourth-former.

            If you are doing a Blazer and trying to make me say that I am a superannuitant when I am not one-don’t be so childish. If I was, I would say so-not that it would be any of your damned business.

            Have I made my point ? I hope so, as I am becoming tired of repeating myself because you deliberately misinterpret my words and attempt to make it sound as if I have said something that I have neither said nor thought.

            • PartisanZ

               /  December 12, 2017

              Okay, fair enough Miss Kitty. I was being provocative.

              So could you explain your comment: “If you think that people don’t know why other people are going into WINZ, you are mistaken, P-Z”?

              Do you mean it’s evident to everyone they are going into WINZ to receive government assistance they are perfectly entitled to under our present laws?

              My comment, which I concede was unfair on you, was about people not just ‘knowing’ why other people go into WINZ, but ‘judging’ why they do.

              Why do you think they go into WINZ?

              My apologies if I misunderstood your meaning … but a quick look at Alan’s “Ministry of Bad Parents” comment below and … well … may I be forgiven?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  December 12, 2017

              All right, seeing that it’s the season of good will.

              Well, nobody will think that they are going in there to change their library books ! It’s obvious that anyone going there is going there to apply for money of some kind. There will, I think, always be some sort of stigma-even if people feel sorry for the ones going into WINZ, which is a benevolent stigma but still is one.-better tnan the dole bludger, DPB tart one, though.

              Did you get the That Does Not Compute quote ?

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 11, 2017

    Another euphemism for the Ministry for Bad Parents?

    • wackAmole

       /  December 11, 2017

      Exactly, it is NOT (yet another) dept set up for NZ children, just a small number whose drop kick parents are so incompetent the tax payer gets lumped with their offspring.

  4. chrism56

     /  December 11, 2017

    Wasn’t the name originally going to be just something in Maori, but there were objections that this would lead to stigmatization?
    With regards to the “new” Ministry for Children, are their policies for white kids successful at school with well off parents? If not, why not have a specific name that describes the organization’s function – like say Department for Social Welfare?

  5. Ray

     /  December 11, 2017

    The bureaucratic answer to any problem, change the name!
    Labour are as bad as National when comes to wasting money on this sort of stupidity.
    How many children could have been lifted out of poverty with the $400000 it cost to change this each time?

    • robertguyton

       /  December 11, 2017

      Should have left it as “The Ministry for Vulnerable Children” for eternity, ya reckon, Ray?

      • Ray

         /  December 12, 2017

        No, you have missed my point completely Robert.
        Department of Social Welfare covered it ok, see Gezza below.

  6. chrism56

     /  December 11, 2017

    From a Stuff article talking to Anne Tolley
    “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.” ”
    So the previous Minister recognized the problem with what has become the new name.

    • Gezza

       /  December 11, 2017

      Your frst comment above was the best. Ministry of Social Welfare – in fact just call it the Department for Social Welfare, & leave it at that. It can be organised internally with services or divisions however they like, to do whatever they have to, without stigmatising anybody.

      This whole business of renaming Departments & services as though they were all some sort of private company needing a catchy (but often actually barfable) corporate name & image along with their pointless, expensive branding & endless re-branding, logos & letterheads & signage, is a silly Ruth Richardson-era kitsch fad that should be abandoned as soon as possible. Jesus, the money that alone would end up saving would probably be phenomenal.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 12, 2017

        What about all the ‘consultants’ who would otherwise be lining-up for the dole during and after Ruthanasia? These ‘professional people’ had to be employed at something or the massive holes in the neoliberal dyke would have become apparent so much sooner. Turns out they have well-honed indoctrinal manipulation skills …

        Should be abandoned asap? Presumably you mean “soon” … after 27 years?

        The great thing about ‘Social Welfare’ was it fairly accurately described something that was intended to be good for everyone. This too has been stigmatized as part of the neoliberal rebranding of everything …