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Questions Raised Over Family Commission's Future

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rajen Prasad
Rajen Prasad

Wellington, May 14 NZPA - Questions are being raised about the future of the Families Commission following Christine Rankin's appointment to it.

And Labour MP Rajen Prasad thinks the Government might also have a new agenda for the Children's Commissioner because the position has been filled by an interim appointment for the last six months.

Mr Prasad, the former Chief Families Commissioner, said last night he believed the Government was signalling a change of direction for both agencies.

"It should come clean and explain whether this is the case," he said.

"It is either that or something has gone horribly wrong in the Government's handling of these appointments."

The appointment yesterday claimed its first casualty when a member of the commission's Maori advisory committee, Druis Barrett, resigned.

"I was kind of gutted that she was appointed, She made some derogatory comments about Maori last year and that didn't sit too well with me," she said.

"I wouldn't go as far as to say she's a racist but she's damn well close to it."

Cabinet ministers yesterday brushed off mounting criticism of Ms Rankin's appointment.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said she was surprised by the hostile reactions to it.

"You would think she was actually running the show and was moving to Wellington and was going to be in charge of a budget of millions, where the reality is she's one person sitting around a table with six others," Ms Bennett said.

Meanwhile Labour continued to dredge up Ms Rankin's spending record when she was head of Work and Income.

Deputy leader Annette King said it had included $1 million on a new logo and branding for the department, $80,000 on roadshows, $25,000 on self-promotion videos and $235,000 on a staff conference.

Ms Rankin ignored the criticism and said she was going to accept the appointment.

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