“Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has refused to apologise for saying people who submitted to a select committee were just “grizzling,” says ACT’s Children’s spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“When I grew up dealing with Child, Youth and Family, I never felt like I was listened to. When Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis was interviewed by Radio Waatea about people who have submitted on changes to Oranga Tamariki oversight he said “To be honest, I don’t know what the concerns are. I think it’s just another thing to grizzle about.”

“It takes great courage to appear before a select committee especially for young people who have been victims of the poor practices they are speaking too.

“I have been contacted by people who felt let down and that they’re not worthy of being heard. These committees have an important role in strengthening legislation – they shouldn’t be dismissed by Ministers.

“In Select Committee I grilled Davis about those comments. He didn’t back down. A Minister should be able to take feedback and not dismiss it as “grizzling.”

“Kelvin Davis is usually invisible when it comes to leadership across his portfolios, he’s come out of hiding just to offend people who have had the courage to give feedback, perhaps he should have stayed in hiding.

“Jacinda Ardern needs to answer whether this is the kind of behaviour she expects from Ministers and whether it fits with her expectations of being kind. 

“The point of the Bill is meant to be to strengthen the oversight of Oranga Tamariki, in reality it will be degraded instead. The Minister should be open to hearing that feedback.

“When asked if he would apologise to the people he offended, Davis simply said he’s entitled to his opinion. That’s not good enough and the people who have to deal with Oranga Tamariki deserve better from the third highest ranked Minister in Cabinet.”