The Government has just announced it wants Child Youth and Family completely overhauled and modernised and has asked Paula Rebstock to lead the work.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says a panel of five, including Police Commissioner Mike Bush, will have a wide-ranging brief to consider all aspects of CYF operations.

There would be no tinkering around the edges by the panel, she said.

"Small-scale change are unlikely to produce the results we all want to see."


Mrs Tolley said New Zealand used to be world leader in the field of child protection.

"But I believe we are now eight to 10 years behind in our thinking in some important areas, such as how we support children in state care.

"For the sake of vulnerable children, we must do better."

Last week Mrs Tolley announced of review of the involvement of CYF in the Roast Busters case, in which authorities did nothing despite complaints about a gang of Auckland youths who had sex with drunk young women and bragged about it on social media..

But today's announcement is more wide-reaching than that.

Mrs Tolley said in recent years various reports of CYF had highlighted issued such as the need for a child-centred approach, areas for improving structures to support practice and social worker caseloads where there was a lack of clarity around core business.

"CYF has drafted its own internal modernisation strategy and while it is a good starting point, it doesn't go far enough."

Panel members
Paula Rebstock (Chair)


Ms Rebstock has extensive governance experience and is Chair of the ACC Board, Chair of the Work and Income Board, Deputy Chair of KiwiRail, Chair of the Insurance and Savings Commission, a member of the University of Auckland Business School Advisory Board and a Director of Auckland Transport. She is also lead reviewer for the Improvement Framework for the State Services Commission.

Commissioner Mike Bush

Commissioner Bush joined New Zealand Police in 1978 and has held a number of senior operational and administrative positions including Counties-Manukau District Commander, where he pioneered the prevention first operating strategy. Commissioner Bush led significant operational changes to Police through the Policing Excellence programme. He was awarded the MNZM for his service as New Zealand Police's South East Asian liaison officer following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Duncan Dunlop

Mr Dunlop has been Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, an independent advocacy charity for young people in care, since January 2012. He has led the development of youth-work infrastructure and programmes in a range of environments from Lithuania and Ghana to the Balkans and across Britain.

Helen Leahy

Ms Leahy is a Specialist Adviser, Strategy and Influence, for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. She has held several senior roles in Parliament including Chief of Staff of the Maori Party and Senior Ministerial Adviser for the former Minister of Whanau Ora. A former high school teacher, Ms Leahy has worked in a range of community sectors such as domestic violence, adolescent health and development, youth and women's affairs.

Professor Richie Poulton

Professor Poulton is the Chief Science Adviser to the Ministry of Social Development and has led the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at the University of Otago for the past 15 years. He is a Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research and Director of the Graduate Longitudinal Study. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and recipient of the RSNZ Dame Joan Metge Medal.