A new Children's Commissioner has been appointed following Hawke's Bay doctor Russell Wills' announcement to stand down from his post.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley made the announcement yesterday that Judge Andrew Becroft would take up the role in July.

He will resign from his current position as Principal Youth Court Judge and be on secondment from his duties as a District Court Judge.

The Children's Commissioner is an independent advocate for the interests, rights and well-being of children in New Zealand.


Mrs Tolley said Judge Becroft was coming into the role during a time of change and she had no doubt he was the right person at the right time. "Judge Becroft's experience of dealing with troubled and at-risk young people will be vital in the development of a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending as part of the major overhaul."

His opinions would also be important as raising the youth justice age to include 17-year-olds was being investigated.

Mrs Tolley also acknowledged "the tremendous work" done by the outgoing commissioner Dr Russell Wills.

"He has never shied away from voicing strong opinions, always with the best interests of children in mind."

Dr Wills said the new commissioner brought "huge integrity and intelligence to the role". He said the Judge understood the needs of young people in the care and youth justice systems. "He knows what is working, what isn't and what a really good system would look like. He's the right appointment at the right time."

Dr Wills said he was proud of his team and that they would continue to deliver under Judge Becroft's leadership.

He was looking forward to working with Judge Becroft over the next two months before he takes over on July 1.