Whanau First continues call for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki - MInistry for Children
MEDIA RELEASE – June 18, 2019.
New parent advocacy group Whanau First is calling for the Government to start looking seriously at the cause of the
issues which have led to the crisis over state separation of children from their families.
Group co-ordinator Louise Hutchinson was commenting today after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a breakfast-time
television interview rejected a call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry.”
“The first thing we have to note is that this rejection has come without any discussion,” she said. “This is very
disappointing for a new Government which is promising a lot of change.”
“Good luck to it on that one, because this Government has had to deal with a number of radical failures of the previous
Government, probably more of a mess placed in front of it than any Government before it.”
“The second one is that we now have at least four inquiries running or at the report stage, all while we are just two
years into changes made by the Rebstock Report,” she said. “That report was most notable for its ignorance of causal
“The major inquiry now is the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse Abuse in State and Faith-based
Institutional care,” she said. “That’s where it should have started – it should have been the full inquiry we are now
“In the space of two days we’ve had the Minister (Tracey Martin) announcing what she calls an internal inquiry into the
Hawke’s Bay incident six weeks ago, the Commissioner for Children has announced an inquiry into the uplifting of babies
more generally, but only relating to children aged 0-3 months, and the Minister of Justice has released a report on
what’s called an inquiry into operations of the Family Court.”
She said none of the inquiries with causes “at the centre” of the problems which have “exploded in the faces of the
Ministry staff, the Minister for Children, and the public over the last few weeks.”
"We do understand the position this Government is in, but having four inquiries when one might have done the trick is a
bit confusing," she said. "The Prime Minister raises a good point that a Royal Commission may take too long to produce
answers which are needed urgently, so perhaps there needs to be an inquiry to decide what inquiries we need, and rip
into it on a priority and needs basis."
“All of these inquiries are about consequences and how bureaucracy is dealing with those consequences,” she said. “Still
we have nothing which looks at why these issues keep recurring.”
“At the end of the day it’s deeply rooted in colonialism, but the power-broking system is struggling and kicking all the
way to the grave trying to avoid the real issues,” she said.
“The number of inquiries is growing legs in every direction, yet still we don’t have anything aimed at stemming the flow
other than punishing people.”
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