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ACT Member’s Bill aims to put children at the centre of Oranga Tamariki

Oranga Tamariki

“My Member’s Bill which was drawn from the Ballot [on Thursday] seeks to ensure that the wellbeing of the child is the paramount consideration of Oranga Tamariki,” says ACT MP Karen Chhour.

“As someone who grew up in state care, I have deep appreciation of what children need. Each child regardless of race, has their own individual circumstances and family background which means we should never take a blanket race-based approach. Every child should be seen as an individual and their wellbeing must come first.

“Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 places duties on the chief executive that are at odds with the agency’s primary purpose to support the wellbeing of our most vulnerable and at risk children. This will ensure they get a chance in life and we can break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.

“While well intentioned, section 7AA creates a conflict between protecting the best interests of the child and race-based factors enshrined in 7AA. This conflict has the potential to cause real harm to our children.

“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. My Member’s Bill would ensure this happens, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.

“My Bill, The Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill, will ensure the wellbeing of the child comes before any other consideration. This will ensure the safety of our Tamariki and give our most vulnerable children the best chance in life.”

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Source:ACT Party

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent! I hope it succeeds. We have been doing work with youth at risk and their families for over 25 years. When we first engaged with CYF the “paramountcy” clause (stating that the paramount consideration of all work should be the interests of the child) was, quite rightly stressed to us, and figured highly in all documentation. This position slowly eroded over time, with concerns for cultural issues and a multitude of secondary “compliance” matters coming to the forefront, and prejudicing timely and effective service provision. It is high time that we went back to basics.

  2. Oranga Tamariki is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We all know that.

    Whanau of all races, but especially Maori need to take responsibility for raising our own children. That we have looked to the government more and more to solve our issues is what’s broken. That’s the error right there.

    We, you and me need to look to ourselves and take control.

    That said, the Treaty is a divide and has become an excuse for failing to front up to our responsibilities. I am Maori and was raised in an era where a breach was corrected with love but no apologies.

    Looking to fix a law has merit but remove Oranga Tamariki. Burn it to the ground so we have no choice but to stand up straight.

    • Excellent comment, John I agree completely. While I am not Maori the response was the same in my upbringing. We all knew where we stood and where the boundaries were. Our parents raised us and took that responsibility seriously. No intervention was required, or welcome, by the state. The jails were all but empty, the house was rarely locked, gay was happiness and rainbows were in the sky…

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