Jacinda Ardern desperate to work with NZ's vulnerable children, but says it's 'unwise' to be involved with individual cases

Jacinda Ardern has reveled she intends to have a role where she can help New Zealand's vulnerable youngsters, but it would be "unwise" of her to work with individual child cases dealt with by the Ministry of Vulnerable Children.

"I'll be working through how I can make sure I fulfill my desire to be closely involved with my passion," Ms Ardern said.  

"One of the reasons I came into politics was balancing the need to make sure that the operational side of that portfolio is dealt with appropriately."

The PM-elect also indicated that one of her specific focuses working within the Cabinet was to fix the gender pay gap.

"I have great ambition as a woman, and as Prime Minister-elect that we will make great gains as a government in issues like equal pay," she said.

"Making sure we are supporting women in the roles that they choose to take, be that in work or in carer roles. That will be at the heart of what we do.

"It may well not be that that role is inside Cabinet but it will be held by someone who is passionate for the work that they will do and I will hold it close to my heart as well."

Ms Ardern said she would hold ministerial positions, but would not explicitly reveal what they would be.

Sixteen Labour MPs will take positions within Cabinet, with a further five sitting outside. Source: 1 NEWS

However, she was quite clear they would relate to her existing roles around the arts and culture, and children's portfolios, and the PM's traditions handling of intelligence issues.  

She won't, however, take up a position that will interfere with individual cases being dealt with by CYF. Source: 1 NEWS

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One person dead after crash on Auckland's Albany Expressway, major delays expected

One person has died following a crash on Auckland's Albany Expressway this morning.

Police were called to the incident at around 6am and the road is expected to be closed for some time.

Diversions are in place on Tawa Drive and Bush Road.

The Serious Crash Unit is currently investigating the incident.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

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Former prisoners say they're having to lie to employers to secure a job

People who have been in prison say they are having to lie to employers to secure a job.

Just under a third of people who leave prison are back behind bars within their first year of release.

The Department of Corrections said gaining employment can reduce reoffending and it urged employers to give former prisoners a chance.

A woman, who wanted to be known only as Mihi, said she enjoyed her night-shift cleaning job in Auckland.

She said her colleagues were great and her boss was good too, which made it difficult for her to keep lying to him.

She did not want to use her real name because she did not want her boss to find out she had spent time in jail.

"I am quite an honest person and I would rather he knows - because he's really good," she said.

"Since I have been working there in June I have been wanting to tell him but I am scared that he might let me go.

"I need this job or a job."

Mihi served six months in Arohata prison for a string of convictions, including assault, breaching protection orders and benefit fraud.

She was released in January and said she has been turned down by countless employers when she has been honest about her past.

"I ended up mentioning that I just got released from prison - that that was the reason why I did not have any referees - he told me to get out," she said.

Another recruitment agency told her that no one would employ her, so she was wasting their time.

"It is stressful, it is hard, especially if you have been in prison - I did not realise how hard it was. No one wants to help you."

Mihi said employment was keeping her on the straight and narrow and she could turn to drugs and alcohol if she lost her job.

Patricia Walsh had racked up sentences amounting to 20 years imprisonment and had been to jail five times.

She has been out of prison since 2009 and said she lied to get her first job too.

But it put her on a path to get her Bachelor of Social Work and she speaks publicly about how to improve the system.

"Once I got off the P, I felt like maybe I could get a job," she said.

"But I lied - I said I didn't have a criminal conviction - but hey I got myself a cleaning job and I ended up cleaning the wānanga.

"I said to one of the students, 'How do I be one of you?"

Second chance

A reintegration worker who has completed her PhD on life after prison Joy Bullen said it should not be this way.

"For anyone that goes to prison they find that employment means they begin to be imprisoned all over again, they can't get employed because you are a risk," she said.

"So we don't say 'you've served your time, let's move on', we go 'no, you can't be employed because you are risk'."

The Department of Corrections has programmes in place to get prisoners work ready and to help them secure jobs on the outside.

In September, it managed to source jobs for 158 offenders who had been in prison or on community based-sentences.

It's director of employment and reintegration, Stephen Cunningham, said employers were getting on board but not enough of them.

On Tuesday, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis held two hui in Palmerston North where he discussed reintegrating offenders into society.

He urged employers there to take a chance and give jobs to former offenders.

You can hear more about life after prison on Insight, after the 8am news on Sunday with Wallace Chapmam on RNZ.

By Leigh-Marama McLachlan

rnz.co.nz

Prisoner (file picture)
Source: istock.com


Alcohol warning label to be mandatory to urge risks of drinking while pregnant

All alcoholic drinks in New Zealand will soon have to come with a label warning of the risks of drinking while pregnant.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has voted to make the health warnings mandatory.

Food Safety Minister Damien O'Connor, the only New Zealander in the group, said it was the right move.

While the alcohol industry had been voluntarily including warnings, there was no consistency in approach, he said.

Officials will now develop an appropriate standard to be signed off.

rnz.co.nz

pregnant woman holding glass of alcohol
Pregnant woman holding glass of alcohol. Source: iStock