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Karen Chhour: “All I’m asking is for Oranga Tamariki to make sure that we’re putting safety and wellbeing first. Everything else must come second to that”

Summarised by Centrist 

Children’s Minister Karen Chhour, who grew up in state care, is fighting to remove Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act. Her aim is to prioritise child safety and wellbeing over “an interpretation of Te Tiriti.”

For her efforts, she writes that “my colleagues across the aisle have called me a puppet and a sell-out.”

She notes that Te Pāti Māori even suggested that she should have been uplifted as a child herself so that she could have been raised as the “right kind of Māori.”

Chhour argues that Section 7AA, aimed to ensure Māori children connect with their whakapapa (lineage), has led to unintended consequences. These include “reverse uplifts” where children are moved from loving foster homes to what are considered culturally appropriate, but potentially less safe environments. 

“All I’m asking is for Oranga Tamariki to make sure that we’re putting safety and wellbeing first. Everything else must come second to that,” writes Chhour, criticising those who attack her stance as divisive. 

Chhour asserts that: 

“I grew up dealing with Child, Youth and Family, and I learned that what matters most in a home is stability, love, and safety – not race.”

Chhour accuses those who call child abuse a “national shame” of responding with personal attacks and accusations of racism when efforts are made to find solutions.

Read more over at NZ Herald

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