Oranga Tamariki’s slam is making a comeback

Photo: Radio Waatea Image Database.

Pierre Veschaffelt

Jean Te Huia: Oranga Tamariki’s slam is back in force

Ngā Māia Māori Midwives Aotearoa chief executive Jean Te Huia said the government must stop pretending Oranga Tamariki was working.

Ms Te Huia, who rose to national prominence when she helped coordinate efforts to stop the uprising of a pepe from Hawke’s Bay hospital, said that despite multiple reviews by the health protection agency childhood and its predecessors, little has changed.

She says the government’s response to criticism has been to appoint another Maori advisory committee.

“I believe the government needs to take a step back and stop pretending it’s doing a good job and stop pretending that the $4 billion a year it spends on this is going into the right pockets and the right places, because it’s not,” Ms. Te Huia said.

But the chairman of the ministerial advisory group on Oranga Tamariki said critics of the agency needed to stop taking the hits and acknowledge that change was afoot.

Matthew Tukaki said under the leadership of Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis and acting chief executive Chappie Te Kani, much has already been achieved and a new leadership team is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

They’re trying to fix a system that’s been broken for a long time, and it won’t happen overnight – but unlike previous reform efforts, his group’s report hasn’t been swept under the rug.

He does not know where Chief Maori Midwifery Jean Te Hira gets the figure of $4 billion for child protection.

“Oranga Tamariki’s budget is just over $1.3 billion and by the time these reforms are completed, much of this money will flow into the hands of the frontline organizations you you wait, to make sure they do the job to reduce the number of children coming on the line,” says Mr. Tukaki.

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