Govt must listen to child sector experts on Oranga Tamariki oversight

The Green Party is calling on the Government to withdraw the proposed Oranga Tamariki oversight legislation which strips away independence and fails to put children at the heart.

“Speaking to Radio New Zealand earlier this morning, Minister Sepuloni appeared to misunderstand the opposition to the new system. She suggests the intent of the Bill wasn’t clear and people have misunderstood. This is not correct. We heard the submissions and advocates understand what is planned,” says Jan Logie, Green spokesperson for children.

“Opposition rests on the removal of powers from the Children’s Commissioner, the fragmentation of the child protection oversight as well as the failure to engage Māori, affected young people or wait for the Royal Commission to report back.

“The Minister needs to consider how children might negotiate this confusing new system, and what will give children confidence in their rights, rather than what looks good to her as a Minister.

“At the time when we have the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care hearing decades of evidence that the state failed in its duty of care, taking away independent monitoring powers from the Children’s Commissioner and putting them inside a government agency is hugely concerning.

“We have opposed this legislation from the start because we need a truly independent monitor of our so-called child protection system, empowered to speak up for children when necessary. The current proposal does not stack up.

“Thirty-four agencies representing the children’s sector, including VOYCE Whakarongo Mai which represents care-experienced young people, have overwhelmingly called for the bill to be stopped.

“We know the state care system is causing harm; there are stacks of reports from decades of advocacy saying so.

“When you have this many advocates telling you to stop, the failure to listen ‘speaks volumes’, as current Commissioner Judge Eivers has said.”

ENDS

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