Trust betrayed with passing of OT Bill

By passing the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki Bill in the face of overwhelming opposition from nearly every community, the Labour Government has failed children and young people.

“Well that’s it. As soon as the votes were counted and the majority Labour Government got its way, the trust and confidence of the sector, the experts, and the children and young people who need support was lost,” says Jan Logie, Green Party spokesperson for children.

“By fracturing the oversight system and bringing the role of monitoring Oranga Tamariki into Government against the wishes of those who will need it, this Bill risks perpetuating a vicious cycle of abuse. 

“And the Government’s timing couldn’t be any worse. For most of this week current and former staff at Oranga Tamariki are giving evidence as part of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

“Multiple failings have been acknowledged, and only yesterday the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki said survivors of abuse had gone on to experience “unacceptable and abhorrent” conditions in state care. The system that was meant to protect them served only to add to their trauma. 

“We know these failings are still happening. Our biggest worry now is that the system the Government is putting in place thanks to this legislation will do little to stop it continuing, and will in fact create the potential for current and future abuse to be swept under the carpet. 

“We owe it to the children and young people who have suffered at the hands of the state, as well as to those who will look to the state for protection in the future to create a system that works for them, not for the Government.

“One of the strange things about passing laws in Parliament is that once parties cast their vote, the agenda just moves on to the next item of business. There is little fanfare or time for reflection - after all, the next debate is waiting to get underway. 

“Every day MPs make decisions that will have a profound impact on people’s lives. We look to the advice of the public, sector leaders, policy experts, lawyers, and academics to make sure we get these decisions right. 

“But tonight the Government has done exactly the opposite and gone against the advice of nearly every person or organisation with experience or knowledge of the child protection system. It will be a moment Labour will look back on and regret,” says Jan Logie. 

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