Thursday, May 23, 2024

Govt to repeal part of Oranga Tamariki Act

Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament.

The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour.

“While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga Tamariki when making decisions in the best interests of the child or young person,” said the Minister.

“I consider that section 7AA allows the treatment of children and young people as an identity group first, and a person second, it creates a divisive system that has had a negative impact on caregivers.

“This repeal will make sure that Oranga Tamariki is entirely child-centric and is making decisions that ensure a child’s wellbeing and best interest.

“Over successive years, Oranga Tamariki has failed our most vulnerable children, and in part that has been because of s7AA.

“Removing s7AA from the Act reinforces the need to put the safety of the child first,” says Ms Chhour.

This Bill does not stop the consideration of cultural wellbeing of children and young people in the care of Oranga Tamariki, she said.

“I have indicated to Oranga Tamariki that existing strategic partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations will continue, and the repeal would not prevent Oranga Tamariki from entering into further strategic partnership agreements with iwi or Māori organisations.”

“However, I believe section 7AA has placed some duties on the chief executive that are at odds with the agency’s primary purpose, which is to support the wellbeing of our most vulnerable and at-risk children.”

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