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Govt should delay introduction of second CYF Bill

1 December 2016

Govt should delay introduction of second CYF Bill

The Green Party is supporting the Māori Women’s Welfare League’s call for the Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley, to delay the introduction of the second CYF reform Bill, which will see more Māori children removed from their family and wider whānau.

There are huge concerns from Māori about the Government’s plans to remove and amend specific provisions that ensure the ability of a child to remain in the care of their wider whānau, hapū and iwi when being placed in state care. Minister Tolley has previously indicated her intention to introduce the second CYF reform bill before the end of the year, which could prevent the Māori Women’s Welfare League from lodging a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal.

“This Bill should not be introduced to the House until there has been robust engagement with Māori on the reforms and the Government can ensure that they do not breach their obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” Green Party social development spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Māori children make up of 61 per cent of children in state care, and so these proposals will have a significantly disproportionate impact on Māori families.

“The Minister needs to clarify what specific provisions she is intending to remove or amend that would impact on the connection between Māori children and their whānau, hāpu and iwi.

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“A truly child-centred approach would ensure that tikanga Māori, particularly around connection to whakapapa and whānau, is of paramount importance, as we know Māori children achieve better outcomes in the care of their wider whānau, hapū and iwi.

“Of the more than 200 stakeholders who the National Government consulted on the reforms, only a handful were from Māori organisations. They failed to engage with critical Māori stakeholders, including the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

“Once the details of the reforms have been released, there needs to be robust engagement with iwi Māori and Māori organisations, particularly those with expertise in caring for Māori children,” Ms Logie said.


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