“Another damning review of Oranga Tamariki, this time around the mismanagement of a $60m sexual abuse programme, shows that Kelvin Davis is asleep at the wheel and failing our most vulnerable New Zealanders,” says ACT’s Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Oranga Tamariki was given the crucial job of improving services for abused children going through court processes, and for addressing harmful sexual behaviour to children. It turns out the work programme was such a disaster that it was shut down in August 2021 after 20 months of work and no visible improvement to services.

“The independent report describes the programme as “floundering”, “dysfunctional” and “poorly-resourced”, with little grasp of what abused children need.

“What’s even worse is that the Government tried to sweep it under the rug. Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes told media the programme was progressing “as intended” in December 2021, but it had already been shut down months before.

“I grew up dealing with the Child Youth and Family system. I was bounced around between different family members and foster care. I know the pain and suffering these kids are facing more than most.

“The system isn’t working. Kelvin Davis needs to front up and explain what’s going on here and he needs to drive change. We’ve had review after review after review into the practices of Oranga Tamariki but the Minister is nowhere to be seen when it comes to delivering improvements.

“Oranga Tamariki needs to be serving our most vulnerable children and giving them the best chance in life. Instead it is bogged down in bureaucracy and poor leadership from the Minister.”

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Karen Chhour