Oranga Tamariki Legislative Reform: An Affirmation of New Zealand’s Commitment to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?
30 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 26, 2019
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees basic and fundamental rights for children and young people universally. Since ratification in 1993, New Zealand continues to take steps to bring domestic legislation into line with this comprehensive human rights treaty. This article examines to what extent the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017 gives effect to the rights set out in the Convention with a particular focus on the youth justice sector. A close analysis of the effect of s 5(1)(b)(i) which purports to mandate that the child’s or young person’s rights as set out in the Convention must be respected and upheld in the exercise of powers under the Act is undertaken. Despite s 5(1)(b)(i) explicitly referring to the Convention, the conclusion reached is this section merely legislates the current practice of the Courts and other decision-making bodies, that is, the rights set out in the Convention should be used as guiding principles when making decisions concerning children and young people. This article highlights the inconsistencies in the current legislation, and the legislation Act, which must be resolved before comprehensive incorporation of the Convention rights can be considered.
Keywords: Oranga Tamariki Legislation Act 2017, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Children and Young People's Rights, Youth Justice
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation