Waatea News Column: Grainne Moss’ resignation is a second political victory for the Maori Party in less than a month


With the resignation of Grainne Moss from Oranga Tamariki, Kelvin Davis has lost a second political victory to the Māori Party in less than a month.

His refusal to personally engage and de-escalate the prison riot at Waikeria Prison allowed for the Māori Party to step up and negotiate an end and gain a surprise early political victory, and by not decisively sacking Moss and allowing her to resign, Kelvin has inadvertently handed the Māori Party a second surprise victory.

The Māori Party argument that Māori run agencies with a clear Māori cultural world view as their guiding principles should be leading welfare agencies dealing with Māori is only made stronger when Public Servants can cause the kind of damage Oranga Tamriki did and all that happens is a reshuffling of Pakeha bureaucrats.

Kelvin should have sacked Moss and asserted some authority over an agency that National designed, instead he looks like he’s still playing catch up.

The interim appointment of someone with the mana of Sir Wira Gardiner gives Davis breathing space, but the same problems will arise.

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Oranga Tamariki is a National Party right-wing neoliberal experiment in welfare with a focus on taking children early to save the State money, its core values are as far away from a Māori world view of holistic welfare as is possible.

Labour are going to have to either rebuild the organisation from the ground up or totally replace it with a unique Māori valued agency that is run by Māori for Māori.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. Sir Wira Gardiner was a bag man for national. His wife was a former national party minister.

    This is a bad bad look Kelvin Davis, who is advising Kelvin?

  2. Has anyone got a link that would explain what a “clear Maori cultural worldview” is.
    Or a “Maori worldview of holistic welfare”
    I live for part of each year in a predominantly Maori community and none of my Maori friends have any idea of what this worldview is.
    I worry that we will create a big political mess that won’t help the children if we have no idea what would be done differently from what we are doing now.

  3. If “Oranga Tamariki is a National Party right-wing neoliberal experiment in welfare” then Sir (sic) Wira Gardner is the right man for the job.

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