“ACT supports the Children’s Commissioner objections to the Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill rammed through by Labour this week,” says ACT’s Social development spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Speaking to Newshub Nation this morning, the Commissioner spoke of her concerns that the bill will make the system “more bureaucratic” and tougher to navigate for at-risk youth. “Whanau now have three different agencies to navigate.”

“The Commissioner also spoke of the poor job the Government has done of consultation on the bill “They haven’t listened to mokopuna, they haven’t’ listened to whanau, they haven’t listened to people on the ground.”

“ACT has been raising these concerns in Parliament for months. ACT, alongside all other political parties and numerous advocacy groups, called on the Government to stop this bill and start again. When Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni refused we proposed five amendments that would improve it, so it wouldn’t cause more damage to vulnerable young peoples’ lives. Only one of them was accepted by the Minister.

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

"I can tell you from my experience in dealing with child, youth and family growing up, the worst thing you can do as an organisation is lose the trust of our youth, because to come forward takes huge courage and why would you come forward if you don't trust the system?

“The Government had a chance to listen to those at risk but refused. Unlike this Government, ACT will take on board the Royal Commission’s findings and the feedback of survivors and advocates, ensuring a better system for the children who need our support.”

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Karen Chhour