“Children are being taken out of safe, loving foster homes because their foster parents are the ‘wrong’ race”, says ACT Spokesperson for Children Karen Chhour.
“Section 7AA was introduced into the Oranga Tamariki Act to honour the Treaty. It has meant taking a Māori child out of a safe and loving Pakeha foster home where they’ve lived for years.
“My Member’s Bill, which has been drawn from the ballot and will soon be debated in Parliament, seeks to repeal s7AA and ensure that the wellbeing of the child is the paramount consideration of Oranga Tamariki.
“As someone who grew up dealing with Child, Youth and Family, I have deep appreciation of what children need. Each child regardless of race, has their own individual circumstances and family background which means we should never take a blanket race-based approach. Every child should be seen as an individual and their wellbeing must come first.
"Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 places duties on the chief executive that are at odds with the agency’s primary purpose to support the wellbeing of our most vulnerable and at risk children. This will ensure they get a chance in life and we can break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.
"Section 7AA creates a conflict between protecting the best interests of the child and race-based factors enshrined in 7AA. This conflict has the potential to cause real harm to our children.
“Oranga Tamariki’s governing principles and its Act should be colour-blind, utterly child-centric and open to whatever solution will ensure a child’s wellbeing. My Member's Bill would ensure this happens, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.”