“Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has no timeline for when the Oranga Tamariki review into the organisation’s youth justice facilities will be completed, and he can’t even be bothered asking,” says ACT’s Children’s spokesperson Karen Chhour.
“I asked Davis in Parliament if the review would be released by the end of August, as he had promised. He said he hasn’t read a draft and doesn’t know where it’s at. Despite announcing the date himself, he now claims he has no influence over it.
"This is a ridiculous excuse. As the Minister responsible he should be aware of the report's progress and asking for updates. It is not interfering in the report's independence to simply ask when it will be completed.
“He might have hoped people would just forget about it, he’s wrong. Earlier today care experienced young people delivered a petition to the Government calling for them to finally take things seriously.
“Davis has consistently hid behind reviews to absolve himself of responsibility. Whenever a new issue arises he calls for a review, sometimes on issues in which there have already been completed reviews just years earlier. At no point has he taken any responsibility and actually tried to fix things.
“It’s clear Kelvin Davis has no interest in seeing this important work through, he’s checked out and is going to leave the next Government to clean up the mess he has left Oranga Tamariki in.
“ACT is prepared to do what he refuses to. We will create a more humane and accountable system focussed on children’s safety and freedom from abuse and neglect. By creating transparent and independent systems of accountability.
“We will eliminate the “sweep it under the rug” attitude which has been so pervasive in the state care system. By splitting the social worker into ‘mentor’ and ‘child protection officer,’ ACT will create a system where vulnerable children have a consistent figure to support and care for them throughout their time in state care. By reassigning youth justice functions to Corrections, ACT will ensure that Oranga Tamariki is not conflated with criminal offending and is solely focused on the safety and wellbeing of kids in its care.
“Oranga Tamariki requires the sort of real change that ACT is advocating, to develop a child-centred approach toward the care of children by the state."