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Whanau First calls for resignation of Chair of Inquiry

New parent advocacy group Whanau First is calling for the resignation of the Chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions Sir Anand Satyanand and its Executive Director Mervin Singham.

The call for Satyanand’s and Singham’s resignation’s follows the controversy of high-profile gang member Harry Tam being stood down on Friday from his role with the Royal Commission of Inquiry after multiple allegations of domestic violence were raised. The Royal Commission of Inquiry released a statement on Friday stating it was aware of allegations raised against “a staff member” and had commenced an independent investigation and that the matter has been referred to the New Zealand Police. The fact that we are now aware that there is bullying and intimidation happening within the makeup of the Inquiry itself is abhorrent considering what this Royal Commission stands for. But what’s more abhorrent is that both Sir Anand Satyanand and Mervin Singham the men tasked to lead this inquiry had been made aware of these issues months prior to Tam being employed by the Royal Commission and chose to turn a blind eye.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry has been steeped in controversy since being established on 12 November 2018, group co-ordinator of Whanau First Louise Hutchinson says “we are embarking on what is potentially the most important Inquiry into our nation’s history and therefore the future of Aotearoa, New Zealand. It’s time New Zealand put this issue at the front and centre of its priorities and stopped trying to sweep the seriousness of what has happened historically in our country’s state care and what we know continues to happen daily in our child protective services Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children”.

Survivors of state abuse have campaigned for years for this Inquiry, survivors must be front and centre of the processes, policies and structure of this inquiry to ensure that it delivers, and follows a truth and reconciliation process, which at all times upholds the mana, integrity, safety and dignity of all survivors, and importantly for the more than 6000 tamariki who remain in some sort or state-sponsored care today.

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