“Two years after the Te Oranga youth facility closed its doors amid controversy and an investigation was opened, Oranga Tamariki staff are still on paid leave courtesy of the taxpayer,” says ACT’s Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.
“Te Oranga was shut down and staff were put under investigation two years ago when videos leaked of staff members mistreating children. A Written Parliamentary Question answered by Minister for Children Kelvin Davis confirmed that four staff members remain suspended and on paid leave two years after the facility was closed down.
“It isn’t fair for taxpayers to be carrying the can for an investigation that has inexplicably been going on for years.
“It can be expected that staff get paid leave for perhaps a couple of months while an investigation gets to the bottom of what went on, but two years? That isn’t natural justice for anyone.
“If found guilty of inappropriate conduct, then these staff members have been remunerated for two years for committing abusive acts. If found to be innocent, that’s two years of their lives spent in limbo.
“It’s another sign of total mismanagement from an organisation that keeps failing. How is meant to serve New Zealand’s most vulnerable when it can’t get the basics right?
“Where is Kelvin Davis in all of this? His department has had controversy after controversy, and he is always missing in action. He needs to demand better from his department. Reviews and apologies count for nothing when he is nowhere to be seen when it comes to delivering improvements.”