“The decision to incite Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act to take the ‘Moana case’ to the Supreme Court shows why the legislation must be changed,” says ACT’s Children’s spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“This is not a treaty issue, it’s about determining what’s best for the child. Previous court cases have already determined that it is in her best interests to remain in a loving home with the family she was placed with.

“Oranga Tamariki failed in its obligations by not putting her wellbeing and best interests ahead of all other matters. It also failed the caregivers who had done nothing but love and care for her. It should never have tried to remove her from their care when she had finally found a home that was safe, stable and loving.

“Section 7AA was used to justify these decisions, that’s why I want to repeal it. It is now being used to try and take the case to the Supreme Court after the High Court ruled in favour of the girl remaining with her caregivers.  

“As someone who grew up in state care, 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.

"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 our most vulnerable and at risk children. This will ensure they get a chance in life, and we can break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.

"While well intentioned, making the Chief Executive of the agency focus on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi when responding to the needs of Māori children does not always result in the right outcomes for those children.

“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 ensure this happens, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.

“My Bill, which is due to be debated soon, The Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill, will ensure the wellbeing of the child comes before any other consideration. This will ensure the safety of our Tamariki and give our most vulnerable children the best chance in life and that we don’t see more cases like this one.”

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Karen Chhour