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Oranga Tamariki Practice Review: Accountability And Action Needed

Te Pāti Māori are calling for action after a Practice Review into Oranga Tamariki released today confirmed negligence and a series of failures across six agencies contributed to the death of 5 year-old Malachi Subecz.

“This review would not have taken place if not for the love of Malachi’s whānau who went above and beyond to save his life and get him the care that he needed. We hope their courage and perseverance will result in immediate action from the Government” said Te Pāti Māori spokesperson for Oranga Tamariki, Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

“There are no surprises the report into Malachi’s death confirmed a litany of disastrous failures across multiple agencies charged with keeping him safe, ranging from a failure to follow basic protocols, to poor resourcing and leadership at every level.

“We were expecting this based on my own conversations with his whānau and the report of the Chief Ombudsman. You only need to look at Oranga Tamariki’s track record, the fact that they have failed 17 reviews already, to expect the worst.

“The Minister for Children repeatedly said in the media that he’s waiting for a report before he makes any changes. Now that the report is here, we need a commitment from him as lead minister to implement its recommendations.

“Te Pāti Māori have demanded mandatory reporting of abuse across all agencies responsible for the care of tamariki, which is one of the key recommendations to come out of this report. We also need to see accountability” said Ngarewa-Packer.

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“How many more reviews will it take before we realise that Oranga Tamariki is not, and will not become, what our most vulnerable deserve? Mandatory reporting is a bare minimum that our Government is not even willing to commit to because for it to work without causing further harm would require a completely new system.

“Our tamariki should never be invisible or out of sight, and any review that states: ‘at no time was the system able to penetrate and defeat’ Barriball’s efforts to hide abuse should send a loud clear message to our nation that the system is not fit for purpose” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“Oranga Tamariki needs to be rebuilt to centre the voices of those who have endured the horrors of state care and flourished despite its failings. It needs to be steered at the level of whānau and community, with wrap-around services designed and resourced around the needs of those communities and whānau.

“This takes a minister that will not abdicate responsibility and action but will instead radically transform the portfolio he pleaded for” Ngarewa-Packer said.

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