The Government must withdraw the proposed Oranga Tamariki oversight legislation in the face of overwhelming opposition, the Green Party says.
“The wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi in the hands of the State must be at the heart of any reforms to the system, and this Bill just doesn’t cut it,” says Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for children.
“Today in the House, Minister Sepuloni continued to assert she had listened to submitters and the new monitor would be independent, despite the overwhelming opposition from every other party in Parliament and more than 80 percent of submitters.
“By pushing ahead and not waiting for the Royal Commission’s final report, the Government is signalling it would rather push its own agenda than ensure it has the trust and confidence of children, young people, their advocates or Māori.
“Many submitters to the select committee have come forward and said the Government has not listened and the changes do not reflect their core objections to the bill.
“Taking away independent monitoring powers from the Children’s Commissioner and moving them to a department within an agency is not true independence and was not supported by Māori.
“The key recommendation from the Ministry of Social Development’s Kāhui group was for monitoring to be in an Independent Crown Entity, and most if not all recommendations from submitters on how to strengthen the bill to better reflect the Te Tiriti relationship were ignored.
“The Minister is saying she knows better than young people with lived experience and all those experts in Government policy making, child wellbeing and protection.
“The Minister must withdraw this Bill and listen to the voices of our tamariki and rangatahi, especially when state abuse survivors like Tupua Urlich are saying, ‘This Bill is a disservice to our voices and suffering at the hands of the state. We are doomed to repeat history.’”