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Building up the Bureaucracy undermines Whanau Ora

Over the weekend Māoridom arrived in the Waikato for the annual Koroneihana Celebrations. Yesterday almost 300 attended a Hui in Hamilton to continue the Oranga Tamariki Review led by an independent Māori panel to coincide with the Koroneihana.

The Hui confirmed the Terms of Reference and there was a chance to hear some of the voices first hand. “Hearing from a 17 year old of her traumatic experience and abuse while in state care was shattering” said the President of the Māori Party, Che Wilson.

At the hui, Sir Mark Solomon reminded everyone of the responsibility to not turn our backs on the abuse as we focus on the systematic changes required. “We know our babies are being abused; all of us have the obligation and responsibility to step up and take action to keep our children safe. The system needs to change because the evidence is clear - children in state care don’t fair well and Oranga Tamariki/CYFS have failed 14 reviews and this government is rewarding them for their failures” said Wilson.

“This government has provided the right messaging under the Wellbeing Budget but is focusing on building up the bureaucracy, rather than empowering whānau. The deliberate moves by the Ardern government are about holding up a system that disempowers Māori through handouts. It is akin to giving us a bite of a fish, rather than teaching us how to fish” says Wilson.

It appears that Whānau Ora is being severely chopped by Ardern’s government and even though Dame Tariana Turia insisted that it should never be provider ora, under Minister Henare, it’s now moving to government ora. “It’s really sad that Whānau Ora is being split in to pieces to reflect a broken government system. As a result, the government will try to divide and conquer rather than continue the good work outlined in the governments positive review on Whānau Ora” notes Wilson.

As the government comes on to Tūranagawaewae today, we will be all ears for what they have to say. Wilson states, “I’m hopeful that the Prime Minister doesn’t do the same Waitangi speech where she asks to be held to account and then on every Māori issue ducks for cover. We deserve more than that”.

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