ACT’s response to the resignation of Oranga Tamariki CE Grainne Moss is spot on. Karen Chhour is part-Maori and grew up in foster care so has firsthand experience of CYF intervention:

Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Gráinne Moss. Image credit The BFD.

“Oranga Tamariki (OT) will remain ungovernable and continue to fail children unless it’s allowed to focus on the one thing it was established to do, ensure the wellbeing of children,” says ACT’s Social Development and Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“Until OT’s mandate and rules are tidied up it is unlikely anybody of high quality will put themselves forward to run the organisation.

“Well intentioned as it might have been, making the chief executive of the agency focus on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi when responding to the needs of Maori children does not always result in the right outcomes for those children.

“Oranga Tamariki’s governing principles and its Act should be colour-blind, utterly child-centric and open to whatever solution will ensure a child’s wellbeing.

“Looking at decisions through the lens of s7AA imposes unworkably competing duties on the chief executive.

“Ethnicity and culture should not be a determining factor in deciding what is in the best interests of our children.

“Shortly ACT will be proposing a Member’s Bill that addresses these issues.

“The Government should drop the politically correct façade that’s holding the agency back and address s7AA itself.”

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