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LINDSAY MITCHELL: Oranga Tamariki faces major upheaval under coalition agreement

A hugely significant gain for ACT is somewhat camouflaged by legislative jargon. Under the heading 'Oranga Tamariki' ACT's coalition agreement contains the following item:


• Remove Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989


According to Oranga Tamariki:


"Section 7AA is our practical commitment to the principles of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi."


Make no mistake. Its removal will have major ramifications. Section 7AA is essentially the legislation that allows Oranga Tamariki to be a 'by Maori, for Maori' organisation. (In fact, the very name Oranga Tamariki may lose prominence given the coalition arrangement between NZ First and National agrees to: Ensure all public service departments have their primary name in English, except for those specifically related to Māori. Oranga Tamariki does not relate specifically to Maori but a majority of its clients are. In 2022 68 percent of children in state care were Maori.)


Back to Section 7AA. According to Oranga Tamariki the legislation's "end goal" is to achieve the following:


"Our vision for tamariki Māori, supported by our partners, is that ‘no tamaiti Māori will need state care’. This aligns to the calls being made by iwi and Māori that tamariki Māori should remain in the care of their whānau, hapū and iwi."


In the most recent report (2022), as required under Section 7AA, then Minister for Children Kelvin Davis wrote:


"All mokopuna deserve love and security, and to have access to their culture. This is a right and not a privilege. Ideally, they would be surrounded by their immediate whānau to be provided this. When that is not possible, close or extended whānau or family is the preference. Māori are fortunate to have wider whānau, hapū and iwi networks to call on for such support."


The Chief Executive, Te Hapimana (Chappie) Te Kani, has been implementing a 'Future Direction Plan' which, "... builds a strong foundation for the future of tamariki and rangatahi being within the care of whānau, hapū and iwi."


But the new Minister for Children, ACT's Karen Chhour believes the well-being and safety of the child takes priority over cultural considerations.


Many Maori children have links to non-Maori by blood. They are children with mixed parentage. Where there are conflicts over their care - who should or shouldn't step into that role - the non-Maori side of the equation must not be ruled out. That's what Section 7AA effectively does. For that reason, it must go.


It is impossible to predict how its removal will play out but such a major disagreement between the Chief Executive and the new Minister will have to be resolved. The political opposition is going to be immense. And it will be ugly. Chhour has already had to withstand being told she is "not kaupapa Maori", to stop viewing the world through a "vanilla lens" and that she should "leave her Pakeha world." All distractions from her overarching goal to put the child's interests firmly first.


For my part I wish the new Minister every ounce of strength and courage.




Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

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155 Comments


Culture is NOT inherited,no matter what the touchy feelies say.All people are looking for better,and of course want to find their roots but that doesn't mean we have it inherently in us. I have said before that I met an aboriginal man on a guided tour in the outback and as he looked full blooded,I questioned his very anglo name. I'm one of the stolen children,he said,my mother was an alchoholic and my father was abusive to all his family. One thing I thank this wonderful country for is that I was taken. He was a university graduate and an all round good bloke. He had no ambition to return to his roots at all,but was attempting to help young…

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There is much research that suggests that this is the case. If we all resorted to the the values , attitudes and behaviours of our forbears It could all get rather messy

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Rusling Mcgehan
Rusling Mcgehan
Nov 27, 2023

Shut it down completely and save the taxpayer a massive amount of money. They have blood on their hands from a long list of failures to protect babies and toddlers from the dangerous care givers and families.

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Hancock
Hancock
Nov 27, 2023

Wow....didn't know about her. thanks for enlightening us. She sounds extraordinary and of course we will support her fully......

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Blessings to the new Minister for Children, ACT's Karen Chhour. The sort out is going to be hard.


Long ago I had 2 boys in state care including one, who had inherited a darkened skin colour via his mother's distant Guernsey Island connection so was frequently picked on by the Police as a psuedo Maori..


Child welfare then was nothing like required... Taking children out of family care was to subject them to a potential hardening as crriminal. They had to escape to avoid the shocking conditions including 23 hr/day in solitary without even underwear and other abuse by staff. Petty crime was needed to exist on absconding and eventually they landed up in prison acclimatised and unacustomed to lif…


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Exactly !!!

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In my opinion, what is needed are training courses for parenting. Not just for those who are proactive in wanting to be better parents but for those who are bad parents who need to learn the right way to do it. The courts should put these bad parents onto courses run by properly selected professionals - not ideologues or those pushing a particular barrow. And if a bad parent who has been on a course transgresses again then throw the book at them.

I need to do more thinking on this subject.

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winder44
winder44
Nov 26, 2023
Replying to

"In my opinion, what is needed are training courses for parenting."

How about a parental licence. Pass your tests then have the child.

We have licences for just about everything else, but when it comes to parenting there's no holds barred. Just go for it, have as many as you like, there's always child allowances, working for familes, accomodation assistance. special benefits, etc.etc.

To be honest you don't even have to work. Just go for the unemployment benefit and sit back and have another child for a wage increase.👨‍👨‍👦‍👦❔(tongue in cheek of course)

Imagine the howls from the human rights brigade.

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