So Oranga Tamariki uplift children using big data for future crimes and dump them into terrible state care conditions?

Wellington Bureaucrats worship their new Big Data Fascism, Orac

Let’s put aside the fact that Oranga Tamariki is a brown washed state agency powered by white saviour delusions using neoliberal settings to argue immediate intervention to save the State money downstream.

Let’s put aside that the monstrosity of Orange Tamariki was cooked up by National to use big data to defund universal care to just the worst case scenarios.

Let’s put aside that we are punishing people for future crimes they haven’t committed yet.

Let’s put aside the streamlined 0800 nark line so accusation can be enacted immediately.

Let’s put aside that there is no independent checking system to ensure children aren’t being taken inappropriately.

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Let’s put aside that parents are disallowed legal aid to challenge the state when they are taken.

Let’s put aside the lies and manipulations these social workers use to steal new born infants from young mothers.

Let’s just focus on the horror conditions the state then dumps these children into after the have ‘saved’ the child…

A hard place to be happy: Children locked away in residential care facilities tell their stories

Mattresses wrapped in hard plastic, metal toilets, strict routines, and bullying that has a teenager eager for isolation in a dirty, stinky cell.

The locked and concrete care and protection residences, home to children New Zealand has deemed too difficult to deal with, are a “hard place to be happy in”.

“I think they are setting ourselves up to fail … We can’t cook, we can’t keep our fitness up,” says one girl. 

“[The secure unit] is dirty as – it’s worse than the police cells … People piss all over the floor and stuff,” says a young man.

…we have a system of uplifting kids into environments as brutal as where they’ve been taken from!

It’s obscene!

Out of the frying pan into the underfunded state oven, what a wonderful outcome!

Oranga Tamariki is a neoliberal welfare experiment started by the previous Government to underfund universal state care to just the worst cases using big data to predict future crimes. It has no checks or balances and now we find out that the kids being ‘saved’ are being damaged in the state care we’ve thrown them into.

The Left have traditionally looked to the State as the great redistribution of wealth and the organs of our egalitarian system, but since the Labour Party reforms of the 1980 when neoliberalism turned everyone from citizens into clients, the neoliberal welfare agencies are a weapon to beat the poor and vulnerable so that they refuse to engage in the first place.

The Left need to understand that if we want real reform, then it must start with a total rebuild of public service and a rejection of neoliberal values. That the toxic environments of WINZ and Housing NZ and MSD and every other state agency tasked with progress must stop seeing their job as punishing the poor but in genuinely being concerned for their welfare and agency.

Oranga Tamariki defends its existence and weaponised uplift powers by waving dead brown babies in our faces as if that somehow justifies allowing the State enormous powers to step in and remove a child from a parent with no independent oversight, no means of legally challenging them and dumping those children into State care that doesn’t have the funds to care.

If you are not outraged by this, you are not paying attention.


  1. Rather than worrying about the construction side of the institutions, (government thinks that everything is fixed with new construction 2025 and a lovely new building) they need to concentrate on the immediate staff and their qualifications aka having a registered psychologist type in charge and available to the children on a daily basis not a networker, woke type, gainning the children’s trust by just having accepting motivated kind staff, and get the children on a positive path. Probably not easy in an institution or with the type of kids that are there and what the kids may have been through!

    Telling kids to write a letter to a grievance panel, about their bullying is a laughable response and shows how out of touch they are with children and reality!

    “As for bullying, she was firm that correct processes were in place, including the use of a grievance panel that children could write to, to voice allegations and complaints.”

    For the older offenders this type of program is much better than putting youths in jail. Being around animals is proven to help troubled people and they are learning in demand skills that don’t have to be academic.

    Young offenders learning new skills from life down on the farm

  2. Sadly only a small portion of this comment is at all accurate.
    Staff at OT try unbelievably hard to place children with whanau – if they have to remove them at all. All too often they search the whanau seeking a suitable place for a child to be placed and come up empty handed. Then and only then is state care ever considered.
    Whilst it is clear that state care is often far less than acceptable it must be remembered that these teens are often of the very most challenging nature (not always – often) and they end up having to be ‘cared for’ in virtual jail type settings. Sad but true.
    But how does OT win? If they don’t act and a child dies or is harmed everyone is up in arms because OT didn’t act!! How can they win? Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
    Also keep in mind that OT is massively under staffed and under resources at every level.

  3. all too often actually they do not do this in all cases and they tell lies and i know cause i caught them out red handed

  4. all too often actually they do not do this in all cases and they tell lies and i know cause i caught them out red handed if they are under staffed whose fault is that the fools who voted national in for 9 years who made things worse far worse

  5. This would have to be the most seriously ignorant article I have read for a long time. The author needs to see the real situation at risk children live in. Some parents for all sorts of reasons are damaging their children through neglect, abuse, drug taking, and generational inability to be able to love their offspring. The repercussions are long term and serious. I know this because we have been involved in foster caring and there is no doubt that the widespread use of methamphetamine is making the situation much worse than is was when we first fostered. There aren’t enough foster carers to go round so I would suggest the author instead of spraying his illinformed comments around become involved closely with what’s really happening. It will break his heart if he has a functioning social conscience. Oranga Tamariki is staffed by people who really care and do not deserved to be attacked in this way.

  6. “…we have a system of uplifting kids into environments as brutal as where they’ve been taken from!”

    Not quite.

    They’re taking babies hopeless meth addicts and alcoholics. From women who have previously beaten children to death or who are cohabiting with men who have.

    It’s far from ideal but do you have a better plan?

  7. You like to talk a good game Martyn, and also Michelle (champion of Maori) but strangely quiet when it’s clearly a Maori problem. Ok then…let us all know how YOU (Martyn/Michelle) would stop kids being bashed to death/badly neglected when the parents have past form and/or drug addicts/alcoholics….you seem to have all the answers (which only seem to be…stop it!) How would you stop all future Maori kid bashing/killing….and bear in mind 1 death at the hands of parent/boyfriend is a failure of the whole system.

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