ANZASW are calling for a paradigm shift in the way we care for tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand to ensure the hauora (wellbeing) of all tamariki.
The Royal Commission has heard significant stories of abuse and neglect in the care of the State, which has failed to keep them safe. The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care is currently looking at the failings of various Government departments, including Oranga Tamariki. What has become clear is the failings of the State span many years.
ANZASW calls on the State to devolve its power and resources to iwi, hapū, whānau, and communities. The State’s role must be significantly minimised within our care and protection system and enable Māori to lead the much-needed transformation.
The Waitangi Tribunal recommended the establishment of a Māori Transition Authority to lead the paradigm shift for our care and protection of tamariki, with Māori exercising tino rangatiratanga. The Government has ignored this recommendation. We call on the Government to follow the Waitangi Tribunal recommendation and give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
We are also extremely disappointed the majority-Labour Government passed the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill into law on Tuesday. There has been strong opposition to this Bill by the community, social sector, survivors of State care, and all other political parties in Parliament, as it is not fit for purpose and creates a disjointed oversight and monitoring system.
“The irony does not slip by us that Parliament passed this piece of legislation on the same day as Oranga Tamariki appeared before the Royal Commission of Inquiry” says Braden Clark, ANZASW Kaiwhakahaere.
ANZASW is deeply concerned that the Government has chosen to ignore the voices and concerns of those with lived experience and to proceed with passing this piece of flawed legislation. The State has yet again (ab)used its power saying it knows better than the voices of those who are directly impacted by the system.
We will continue to support and advocate for our tauwhiro (social workers) as they continue to work to awhi (support) tamariki and whānau, despite the complex and challenging organisations they practice in.
We must do better by our tamariki and their whānau. We need transformational change for Oranga Tamariki and the oversight system. This transformation cannot be led by the State.