The Green Party backs today’s open letter from the Human Rights Commission and others calling for a government inquiry into the abuse of children in state care, and for a formal apology to be made to the victims.
“There is a growing list of organisations and people who are calling for a government inquiry into the abuse of children in the state’s care. It seems everyone but the Government realises that an inquiry and a formal apology are essential to helping the victims find some sense of closure, and to ensure that children in state care now and in the future are protected from abuse,” said Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie.
“The Minister for Social Development needs to issue a full universal apology to those abused while in state care, and immediately set up an independent body to resolve historic and current complaints of abuse and neglect.
“Bill English is happy for things to remain unknown and unexamined around the abuse of children in state care.
“The prominent New Zealanders signing this letter today have seen the effects and heard the evidence about the abuse of children in state care, and because of that they are calling for an inquiry and apology.
“The Government is pushing through settlements with confidentiality clauses for abuse victims without knowing the true extent of the abuse.
“Not every child in state care suffered abuse, but the fact that so many did means that it is crucial that there is accountability from the system that perpetrated this abuse.
“The Government is in the midst of making wholesale changes to Child, Youth, and Family, but before they do that, they should recognise the tragic mistakes of the past and try to learn from them.
“The widespread opposition coming from significant Māori leaders about planned CYFs changes no longer prioritising placing Māori children with whānau first, as well as their support for this inquiry and apology, shows that the Government haven’t learnt from their past wrongs.
“The Government can now ensure that the state faces up to what happened to far too many New Zealanders, and take every possible measure so that it doesn’t happen again,” Ms Logie said.