“Tonight Labour has shown they value separating people by race more than ensuring New Zealand children have the best possible chance of living in a safe and loving foster home,” says ACT’s Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Labour voted down my Member’s Bill to repeal Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act at its first reading. One of their MPs has described the idea of having a colour blind child welfare system that puts wellbeing first as “scary stuff”.

"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 the most vulnerable and at risk children. Repealing it would have meant childrens’ wellbeing is the number one priority and would help New Zealand break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.

“My petition to repeal Section 7AA has received more than 13,400 signatures. Just because Labour won’t support this change doesn’t mean I won’t continue striving to fix the system.

“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.

“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 have ensured this, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.”

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