Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Oranga Tamariki should be colour blind


“The treatment of our most vulnerable children at Oranga Tamariki has been a national disgrace but the answer is not to divide us further,” says ACT’s Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Minister Kelvin Davis has been unable to break away from the Government's working group mentality and deliver real solutions to improve the lives of children. Today is just the latest in a long line of restructures, name changes and tinkering that does nothing to actually help children.

“We need to do what’s in the best interest of a child regardless of the colour of their skin.

“Oranga Tamariki is broken for all children, not just Māori. I was a Māori child in state care, and I can tell you that Māori children aren't that different, they just need to be loved, fed, educated, and not abused by the people who claim to care for them.

“Instead, we are faced with reviews and reports condemning the culture of the Ministry while the welfare of the children has not improved.

“The ministerial group's report is just the latest in a series of investigations into Oranga Tamariki, following previous inquiries from Becroft, Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier, Whānau Ora and the Waitangi Tribunal.

“The solution is that 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. I have Member's Bill which would ensure this happens, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.”