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LINDSAY MITCHELL: Meanwhile “… the disturbing trend of increasing violence towards children continues to worsen.”

The Children's Minister, Karen Chhour, intends to repeal Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 because it creates conflict between claimed Crown Treaty obligations and the child's best interests. In her words,

"Oranga Tamariki’s governing principles and its act should be colour blind, utterly child centric and open to whatever solution will ensure a child’s wellbeing. "

There is, however, substantial opposition to this change.

A Waitangi Tribunal preliminary report about the removal of Section 7AA cites testimony from Te Puni Kokiri:

"Te Puni Kōkiri did not support the proposal to repeal 7AA, because it ‘is highly likely to undo the significant progress that has been made to reduce the disproportionate number of tamariki and rangatahi Māori in the care of the state’."

Again, the reduction of Māori children in state care is presented as ‘progress’ (despite evidence of increasing child victimisations.)

But there is another odd aspect to this apparent ‘progress.’

The main pathway through which children come to the attention of Oranga Tamariki is through Reports of Concern which have decreased 28% from 92,351 in 2018 to 66,487 in 2022.

This drop is unusual enough for Oranga Tamariki itself to attempt an analysis which was released on Monday, April 29.

The following presents some of the findings from that report.

After a Report of Concern further action might be required. That outcome is increasing as shown in the graph below, implying that reports are becoming of a more serious nature:

To understand why Reports of Concern have reduced, various barriers have been examined.

One was the call centre wait time which is up significantly (though the abandoned call rate is reasonably steady since 2014 at around a quarter). Nevertheless, a wait time of almost 8 minutes would be quite excruciating for an emotionally charged, possibly indecisive and apprehensive caller. Many called back but still ended up abandoning their second attempt:

Another was lack of trust.

In respect of trust, social responsibility, leadership, and fairness Oranga Tamariki ranked the lowest of 58 public agencies in 2021 via online surveys and interviews. Oranga Tamariki says:

 “It is clear that three factors found to be key to establishing trust (ability, benevolence and integrity) were questioned by the public, which could have a profound impact on notifiers’ willingness to be vulnerable and engage with Oranga Tamariki.”

While news stories apparently have the single largest effect on that lack of trust, tellingly “those who base their opinion on their experience are the most negative about Oranga Tamariki.”

(Ironically, a regulatory impact statement on the repeal of section 7AA prepared by Oranga Tamariki staff and referenced in the Waitangi Tribunal report concluded, “… we consider that repealing section 7AA in its entirety may worsen long term public confidence in Oranga Tamariki overall.” Can it get much worse?)

Also examined were social worker non-responsiveness and delays. It was found that Intake Social Worker Full-time Equivalents did not increase in line with higher workloads. Additionally, sick days taken in 2022 were 150% up on the average taken during 2018 to 2021.

Three quarters of the reduction in reporting is among professionals in the education and health sectors, Police, Court and other government agencies.

Testimony from a 2023 Listener article is quoted:

“Many child psychotherapists, myself included, have given up working with children. Lobbying the agencies meant to protect them is soul destroying and results in little, if any, change.”

Contrastingly, Oranga Tamariki also admit, “health professionals have said they lose trust in reporting to Oranga Tamariki and instead keep at-risk individuals on their books to ‘keep an eye on them’…” That might be a blessing.

Surprisingly only a brief mention is made of Section 7AA and the strategic partnerships formed with Iwi:

"Further investigation is required to fully understand potential impacts they might have had on rates of reports of concern, but it is feasible that tamariki and whānau receiving support sooner has reduced the need for reports of concern to be made."

It is feasible but at this stage, it remains unknown.

Using other sources, I therefore come back to what is known.

In the five years to 2023 police data shows the number of children aged under 15 years reported as being victims of a violent crime grew from 6,377 to 8,978 or 41%. As the Salvation Army puts it,

“… the disturbing trend of increasing violence towards children continues to worsen.”

This against a backdrop of fewer reports to Oranga Tamariki and fewer children being under the care of the state.

Meanwhile Oranga Tamariki bureaucrats, fighting the minister’s proposal to repeal Section 7AA via their regulatory impact statement, continue their obsession with the Treaty and equity:

"Changes introduced in Oranga Tamariki that resulted from the introduction of 7AA have been effective at reducing some of the disparities and inequities experienced by tamariki, rangatahi, and whānau Māori. There has also been considerable progress as a Department towards honouring the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi through the current practice approach and operating model."

Did Oranga Tamariki consider that the fixation with the Treaty of Waitangi throughout the public service is a major reason the public is disengaging?

If there is no agency that can be trusted by all New Zealanders to effectively protect children, more children will suffer. As we are seeing.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

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134 commentaires

06 mai

A timely observation and well worth the entire read.... as it also applies to NZs systems of total inadequacy in social engineering and subsequent bungling


You d owonder why so many kids flee these 'safe houses'. A good frined of ours who does transcriptions for the coursts suggest child sexual abuse is rife in this country. Time to dig a bit deeper snd see what is really going on with OT.

En réponse à

Whilst working in this field , I came across one case of Intergenerational sexual abuse in one extended family going back at least six generations. Other cases where the older men regularly sexually abused the young females of the extended whanau. I wrote reports which were instrumental in these men receiving sentences of preventive detention.

Just the tip of the iceberg ?


06 mai

Meanwhile another heartbreaking trial (happening just now) where a 3 month old baby has been beaten to death: And, I'm sorry but I don't agree with those who are anti abortion. These are unwelcomed and unwanted children who are never getting a chance of a decent life of love or care...

En réponse à

I agree. But even coming from me Chas you could have been a bit more diplomatic and gentle about it. You're a good guy.

God bless you.

Aaron 👍


Commenting as Johanna

Public opinion is taking the strongest exception to the constantly touted Maori excuse of colonialism causing Maoridom's appalling record of abuse against their own people. This 'new age DEI ' excuse has become a justification for the majority of Maoridom stepping back from all/any responsibility for the catastrophic record of Maori child deprivation, physical abuse, murder and crimes against the most vulnerable in society. Radical Maori have endeavoured to turn their failure into being, ultimately, the fault of others through 'colonialism' . Such an excuse/attitude must rank as the most bizarre,irresponsible and antisocial of cultural reasoning.

What cultural justification is there in The Treaty of Waitangi that permits Maori to close cultural/racial ranks and deplore and obfuscate…

En réponse à

Good Lord, I was about to type to your entry, the words from my favourite film (1960s version) of all time and my favourite tune and lyrics, "Gee, Officer Krupke", which I still know by heart when seeing the movie as a teenager, when I scrolled down and woohoo... you had 'em.

the trouble is he's lazy

the trouble is he drinks

the trouble is he's crazy

the trouble is he stinks

the trouble is he's growing

the trouble is he's grown.

Krupke, we've got troubles of our own


Why do some people abuse children?

As with most problems, there are many related factors that contribute to this behavior. Blaming Maori ancestry does not help, and probably impairs, our ability to understand why some people abuse children. In New Zealand, there seems to be a strange obsession with ancestry and dividing citizens into different ancestral groups, especially Maori or not Maori. The is also an acceptance of stereotypical thinking that illogically assumed all individuals with similar ancestry are alike. This racial stereotyping prevents understanding of the other, perhaps more relevant, factors related to child abuse. The current name of the government department that deals with abused children assumes that this problem is due to ancestry rather than the character of individuals. Ancestry is inherited…

En réponse à

What's the solution?

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