Waatea News Column: Latest infant death being used in Oranga Tamariki propaganda campaign


I think the manner in which dead infants are being used to justify the deeply flawed child uplift policy by Oranga Tamariki is a new low in this depressing and increasingly ugly debate.

Last week a 16month old infant was tragically killed and almost immediately the media were reporting the mother had lost previous children to Oranga Tamariki.

This case is now being held up by defenders of the agency as a justification for their uplift policy. It is highly questionable how Oranga Tamariki’s previous interaction with this mother was made public so quickly and I think they maliciously leaked it to create favour with the public.

No one is suggesting that there aren’t parents who are a threat to their children and that in those rare cases the State’s obligation is to step in for child protection, but that’s not what we have seen with the changes implemented since 2016.

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The 2016 changes created a streamlined process of complaint with automatic uplift, parents who couldn’t access legal aid to challenge these decisions and no independent oversight of such draconian powers. They also, with minimal public consultation, eroded the rights of parents. That structure is deeply problematic and unjust.

Using dead infants as a means to justify that bureaucratic nightmare is atrocious.



First published on Waatea News.


  1. Well it doesn’t really matter what they say(cyfs) now, the numbers speak for themselves as from 2008 upwards the numbers started climbing under a national lead government with a brighter future policy and they continued to climb for Maori but flat lined for non- Maori this factor alone says the system was working for one group but not another. This factor should have set of alarm bells yet they carried on with the status quo.

  2. There is no no excuse for ignoring the increasing number of Maori children by cyfs they have carried on like it is business as normal when this is not normal and its not right either.

  3. I don’t think Cyfs are a trustworthy organisation but you also have to think that every child has a right to a safe and loving home too.

    Tt the moment our rules seem to assume ownership of children by parents even if they are not able to give the above! The child needs to have more rights to a safe childhood and not be at the mercy of both bad state intervention and dangerous parenting actions.

    So Cyfs need to become a more functional and trustworthy organisation which will be hard because it sounds like it is the opposite.

    And our laws and society have to stop thinking children are the property of their parents to be used or abused by them either until they are dead or near dead…

    The ability of the love of the parent should be the overriding concern too… not just nuts and bolts of food, shelter, etc.

    Can the parent show appropriate love and ability to stop their children from being harmed (also by another like boyfriend or partner).

    If parents can’t even protect themselves or their children and the children are exposed to violence from an early age, then the cycle of abuse and neglect is continuing.

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