“ACT has proposed a series of common-sense amendments to Labour’s derided Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill, aiming to improve the legislation so that it works for the vulnerable kids who should be at the centre of this law-making process,” says ACT’s Social Development spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“ACT, alongside all other political parties and numerous advocacy groups, has called on the Government to stop this bill and start again. Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has refused and forged ahead so we’re proposing fixes to ensure it won’t cause more damage to vulnerable young peoples’ lives.

“Unlike Sepuloni, ACT has engaged and consulted with care-experienced youth. It was these conversations that helped us developed five amendments that will improve the bill.

“We’re pleased that the Minister has accepted a part of our amendment to ensure all reports of the Monitor are correctly distributed, however, she should also accept the second half which explicitly names the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki as a recipient of all final reports. This could prevent the re-occurrence of recent situations where the Chief Executive was oblivious to botched initiatives in the sexual violence programme.

“The Minister should also accept our other four amendments that would:

  • Require the Act to be reviewed no later than six months after the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care is delivered to the Minister, and for the review to be completed no later than 12 months after its commencement
  • Require the nominations panel for the Children and Young People’s Commission board to consult with Oranga Tamariki Youth Advisory Group or similar group of young people before making its recommendation to the Minister regarding appointments
  • Enable a public application process for the board of the Commission
  • Enable authorised Monitor or Commission staff members to enter premises owned, managed or contracted by Oranga Tamariki without notice if acting in response to a request or complaint by or on behalf of young people

“This bill is an example of why I came to Parliament, to stop Wellington bureaucrats making the same mistakes of the past.

“The point of the bill is meant to be to strengthen the oversight of Oranga Tamariki, in reality it will be degraded. ACT is calling on the Minister to accept our amendments and ensure this legislation gives vulnerable kids a chance.”

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