“Oranga Tamariki has had so many damning reviews and apologised so many times it is becoming meaningless, there needs to be real change to ensure incidents like the one that occurred with Malachi never happen again,” says ACT’s Social Development spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“The review into the death of Malachi confirmed what we all already knew, Oranga Tamariki has been utterly incompetent and failed in its duties to protect a vulnerable child. Real change is needed in that organisation.  

“Much of the recommendations made from the report amount to common sense, and it is mindboggling that they have not already been in place.

“One of the recommendations, for Oranga Tamariki to vet the caregivers appointed to look after children whose parents were in police custody or incarcerated, is basic stuff. Oranga Tamariki should be vetting the caregivers for every child entering care, even if they are going to family members.

“What’s concerning is that Childrens Minister Kelvin Davis claims he needs to “wait for advice” before he can accept common sense like this. My advice to the Minister is to stop mucking around and drive the change that is needed to ensure unacceptable situations like this don’t happen again.

“The death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz is devastating and unacceptable. There needs to be accountability.

“Kelvin Davis has never taken any accountability. A few weeks ago he was asked whether any staff at Oranga Tamariki had been stood down he replied “not to my knowledge.” He didn’t even know. He hadn’t even asked. That is incompetent.

“Oranga Tamariki needs to be serving our most vulnerable children and giving them the best chance in life. There’s no more time for excuses and apologies, they need to start delivering.”

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Karen Chhour