A Waitangi Tribunal claim filed today calling for an inquiry into the treatment of Māori children in state care is a further sign that pressure is building on the Government to reconsider its stance on the issue, the Green Party said today.
“It seems everyone but the Government realises that an inquiry is essential to help the victims find some sense of closure, and to ensure that tamariki Māori in state care now and in the future are protected from abuse,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“The Minister for Social Development needs to immediately set up an independent body to resolve historic and current complaints of abuse and neglect of children while in state care.
“When the Human Rights Commission, the Disability Commissioner, the Māori Women’s' Welfare League, UNICEF and the race relations commissioner are all adamant that an inquiry needs to be held, it’s clear that the Government is on the wrong side of this.
“The Government is refusing to acknowledge the systemic nature of abuse that kids suffered, but people have a right to have their voice heard and justice served.
“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.
“We can’t afford to make these same mistakes again, and the Government’s ramming through of changes to CYFS needs to be reconsidered,” said Mrs Turei.