Kiro under fire for costly overseas trips

Dominion Post 6 March 08

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro has been criticised for failing to deliver two important reports while her office spent more than $150,000 on travel. Opposition MPs quizzed Dr Kiro yesterday on why she attended eight overseas conferences in the 2006-07 financial year, while her office faced a 50 per cent turnover of staff and struggled to complete work. Seven of the commission’s 14 fulltime staff left during the 2006-07 year.

Figures show the commissioner’s office spent $153,096 on travel and accommodation in the 12-month period, including $23,107 on a trip to conferences in Greece, Sweden and the United States. During the select committee hearing, National Party MP Judith Collins asked why Dr Kiro had travelled so extensively when her office had not been able to complete its annual report card on child poverty and a United Nations compliance review. But Dr Kiro told the committee the two reports “were among many projects”. The report card had not been delivered because her office did not want to replicate Social Development Ministry and Paediatric Society reports.
Family First Comment : There are a number of concerns here
1. Could it be that the real reason the reports on child poverty and UN compliance have not been completed is because they are critical of the government? Family First has always been concerned that the Children’s and Families Commission are not independent enough from the government to be a critically needed voice for these groups
2. Dr Kiro admits her work is duplicating other government work – which begs the question – what’s the point of the position?
3. A 50% turnover in staff suggests that all is not well at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
4. Perhaps this explains why Dr Kiro has not spoken up on the issues we believe she should be – for example the recent teenage prostitution report, recent cases of infanticide, underage sex and child abuse which have been dealt with lightly or not at all by the courts – yet had plenty of time to highlight the ‘rights’ of taggers!!