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The Wire: Green and Act parties condemn proposed changes to Oranga Tamariki system

3:05 pm on 2 August 2022

Interview by David Shi 

Listen to the full interview

The Green and Act parties have condemned the government’s proposed changes to the oversight of Oranga Tamariki, the government department responsible for the well-being of children in Aotearoa. 

The rare moment of political unity from the parties comes after the government's Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill passed its second reading in parliament last week. 

The bill would get rid of the Children's Commissioner and introduce a monitor of the welfare agency instead.

A new report released this morning on the proposed changes to Oranga Tamariki found it risks creating a "vicious cycle" of increasing harm to children and young people. 

The report claims establishing an independent monitor of Oranga Tamariki as a government department won't be independent enough from the government. 

The report suggests the complaints function and monitoring and advocacy roles should sit with the Children's Commissioner where no abuse could be "swept under the carpet."

Green MP and party spokesperson for Children Jan Logie is calling on the Government to listen to the experts who say the legislation needs a major overhaul.

"The evidence is there, the public concern is widespread. We had a report just a couple of weeks ago that told us this is in breach of te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"Not only that but parliament heard from Save The Children, on behalf of 10,800 people, raising the alarm that children themselves have not been consulted, which is their right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Logie claims the bill was “designed to meet the interests of the Crown, rather than the vulnerable children it should be protecting." 

The Green party is calling on the government to engage appropriately with Māori and children to ensure the system works for the people who need it." 

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.