The new Children's Commissioner says tough new laws to crack down on child abuse can't come soon enough.
Hawkes Bay paediatrician Dr Russell Wills has come out in strong support of proposed new Government legislation designed to further protect children.
He told TV ONE's Marae Investigates programme that families who stay silent after children are abused or killed will in the future face criminal charges.
Wills said his mission is to save children from abuse and neglect, and he is due to take up the five-year position tomorrow.
"If someone can seriously hurt or kill a child and no-one is held accountable - that is just wrong," he said.
Wills said in cases like the death of the Kahui twins, there's nothing the police or courts can do if the family decides to close ranks and not identify those responsible.
But under law changes already underway, the whole family would be held accountable.
"It also means the family might have second thoughts about what they do - either we all go to jail or someone's held accountable," Wills said.
The proposed changes to the Crimes Act will also double the maximum penalty for cruelty to a child to 10 years imprisonment.
The new laws are being fast-tracked and could be in force by the end of the year.
And the changes are getting backing from child protection agencies.
"There needs to be a consequence, and adults need to be held accountable. If they could have taken action to protect children then they need to be held accountable for not having done so," said Liz Kinley from Jigsaw Family Services.
Wills believes poverty is firmly linked to child neglect and abuse, and he wants to see Government funding go directly to the poor and to intensive services for under five-year olds.
"One of the big culture changes of this has been acceptance within health that child protection and domestic violence are our core business of health. These are fundamental skills that we need to have. It's a big change," he said.
Among the 34 countries in the OECD, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child poverty and lowest investment in the first five years of life.