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Increasing violence towards children worsens while Waitangi Tribunal resists making Oranga Tamariki “colour-blind” and “child-centric”

Summarised by Centrist

In an effort to make life safer for children, a bill from Children’s Minister Karen Chhour intends to repeal Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. According to Chhour “Oranga Tamariki… should be colour blind, utterly child centric and open to whatever solution will ensure a child’s wellbeing.” 

Social welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell writes about the Tribunal’s report regarding the removal of the section. The report claims that it “is highly likely to undo the significant progress that has been made to reduce the disproportionate number of tamariki and rangatahi Māori in the care of the state.”

Mitchell questions this so-called “progress”. 

There was a sharp 28% decrease in Reports of Concern to Oranga Tamariki from just over 92,350 in 2018 to over 66,480 in 2022. This is matched by a roughly 41% increase, from 2018 to 2023, of the number of children under 15 reported as victims of violent crimes. This number surged from less than 6,400 to nearly 9,000.  

The decrease in reports to Oranga Tamariki has been attributed to factors, which include a lack of public trust. Oranga Tamariki ranks lowest in public trust among 58 agencies. 

Worryingly, Mitchell states that professionals in education and health sectors, police, court, and other government agencies account for three-quarters of the reduction in reporting. 

Read more over at Lindsay Mitchell

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