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Backdown on whānau-first placements a victory for Māori

The Green Party is congratulating Māori organisations on their victory after Anne Tolley today indicated that the Government is going back to the drawing board on reforms to Child, Youth and Family (CYFs) that would have removed the prioritisation of whānau-first placements for tamariki Māori.

Green Party Social Development spokesperson Jan Logie is calling on the Government to immediately release details of their proposed changes and to make a commitment to working closely with Māori organisations and experts to get it right.

“This is a huge victory for Māori organisations and communities who have campaigned strongly on the importance of tamariki Māori remaining connected to their whakapapa and in the care of their whanau, hapū and iwi,” said Ms Logie.

“We’re really proud to have led the political opposition to these changes alongside Māori. The Green Party has a strong and consistent track record in championing Māori and Te Tiriti issues.

“There’s nothing more important than the wellbeing and safety of our children, so it’s good the Government is willing to admit they got it wrong.

“I have consistently said that a best-practice state care system would ensure that tikanga Māori, particularly around connection to whakapapa and whānau, is of paramount importance. As we know, Māori children achieve better outcomes in the care of their wider whānau, hapū and iwi.

“While it’s good Minister Tolley has indicated a rethink, the Government needs to provide clarity on what exactly they are proposing to change and work closely with Māori organisations such as the Māori Women’s Welfare League to ensure they get it right.

“Getting the law right is one thing but the Government also needs to ensure CYFs and Māori organisations are properly resourced to be able to actually implement whānau-first placements, so that we can reduce the level of tamariki Māori in state care,” said Ms Logie.