Waatea News Column: What is now happening at Oranga Tamariki is utterly unacceptable and dangerous


What is now happening at Oranga Tamariki is utterly unacceptable and dangerous

It is very, very, very difficult to understand the Government’s thinking in replacing Oranga Tamariki oversight from the Children’s Commissioner to a faceless 6 panel bureaucracy hidden away inside the Education Review Office.

The Government’s position is that the Children’s Commissioner was only temporarily providing oversight because Oranga Tamariki had been given immense powers with very little check and balance.

The inclusion of the Children’s Commissioner to provide oversight of Oranga Tamariki was almost like a last minute after through put in place until new internal oversight structures were put in place.

Now while those new internal oversight structures are ready and operational, it still makes no sense why you wouldn’t want the EXTRA oversight the Children’s Commissioner brings?

The new structures will not be able to advise on establishing complaints systems for children or monitor the types of complaints made!

That seems to equate to a removal of real oversight alongside the purposeful decision to blind the new watch dog!

We want our vulnerable children protected, and as we can see from the terrible litany of damage being exposed in the Royal Inquiry into historic State abuse, vulnerable children need as many oversights and protections as possible!

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Removing the Children’s Commissioner and replacing them with a blind watchdog only allows the State to hide its abuse of children in its care, it doesn’t protect them better!

First published on Waatea News.


  1. can’t complain about governmental child abuse if no one is there to abuse too.
    Children have no rights, they are either property of the state (l) or the parents (N).

  2. Of course it is dangerous to abolish the independent Commissioner for Children, and if it proceeds as planned, that will be the Ardern government’s terrible legacy to the already vulnerable children of New Zealand. But the issue here is a government department protecting itself from its own ineptitude, and enlisting another second-rate government department to do it is the way to go. The children? They’re the children of the poor, and as such are politically expendable.

    • Nathan. This alone would stop me from voting Labour again, if there weren’t already several other fairly compelling reasons. People need to know what Sepuloni and Davis are doing to our mokopuna, so tell them. I am.

      • Thanks Applewood. The 3 responses the Government gives to individual/groups who query what is going on, are
        1. It is a hugely complex issue, requiring complex solutions
        2. Trust us, we know what we are doing
        3. Nothing…they do not reply

        • DON’T FORGET NATHAN number 4
          we’ll get some religious loonies in a ‘charity’ to sexually abuse them it’s more cost efficient

          • Gagarin. You forgot number 5. In addition to banning the CC, there is VUW’s centre of extremist excellence under Joanna Kidman as part of this same continuum of saying who should be silenced.

  3. I’ve remarked before – how is the ERO going to monitor the welfare of OT children who haven’t yet entered the education system……

  4. There is regular vehemence expressed by commentators about the state of Oranga Tamariki. Have any of them ever worked with OT social workers or had direct personal experience of the mahi they perform? Much of the rhetoric appears misinformed. Sure things go wrong but the organisation is not out there looking to deliberately further traumatise vulnerable children. It often seems to be forgotten that these children come to the attention of OT only after having suffered some, at times, pretty horrific upbringings at the hands of their parents or guardians.

    • A little balance please. Everything that you’re saying is valid, and it probably needed to be said. Unfortunately the issue here is not Oranga Tamariki’s competency, it’s about about accountability and transparency.

      The Children’s Commissioner, always a highly qualified professional person with a skill set well beyond that of the politicians involved in all this, functions independently, and sometimes functions courageously, in a way public servants keen to keep their jobs don’t. Importantly, the CC has at times issued public statements concerning children’s issues, even when this has discomforted government. A committee of faceless public servants are highly unlikely to have the wit or the gumption to do this, if they had then they wouldn’t be faceless public servants.

      Who wants to explain to any kid that the Children’s Commissioner has been replaced by a government committee ? This isn’t a Steven King horror story, or pages from Nathaniel Hawthorne, these are real life children who are being sneakily dehumanised by the Ministers who meant to be looking after them, and for no good reason. It’s bad.

    • Ma’am, I think we can agree that children often come to be involved as ‘clients’ of OT after pretty serious trauma. There are problems involved that are difficult to deal with.

      That only makes it more important that the social workers involved are given the support they need, to provide the children with the support that they need, something that is clearly not happening. Something that this change of oversight will cover up. The politicians responsible for providing inadequate support MUST be held to account.

  5. Yes I concur with A Little Balance Please, having known some OT social workers. Absolutely one of the most difficult jobs and they are very overworked.
    However the scandal that was Moana and the adoption of CRT into th e practice of s/w is very undesirable and needs to be stopped. As do reverse up lifts.

    These poor kids are under the care of OT because of their parents/caregivers, who are grossly abusive and/or negligent. I think there is possibly a culture of these caregivers demonizing OT in order to displace blame and avoid taking responsibility. If you have your kids taken off you you are seriously inadequate as a parent.

  6. Won’t dispute that albp.
    What does concern me is the debate seems always to be about structure and culture with the children which this is all about pushed to the background why the adults bicker.

  7. I note that the parent of the latest child murder trial got off as they nearly always do these days. If the Govt really cared they would do something about both prosecution and prevention (OT). Since the Kahui Twins this has become almost the norm, he did it, she did it, we dont know who did it. I read something recently about how the States passed laws to strengthen their ability to prosecute such people as they too had a growing trend of child murder and no prosecution. Love to see that here – what about making both parents accountable or all adults over 18 etc even if it is only neglect of a child leading to death.

  8. fantail, in the UK they have the somewhat controversial ‘common purpose’ provision in law, ie-if you go along with a crime even if you don’t ‘pull the trigger’ personally you’re guilty…surely we could do similar with those who collude to kill children.
    or what about the good old fashioned ‘accessory before/during/after the act’…bang up the entire family if neccesary…conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  9. I found this in an older paper – The Press 7/7/2022
    Why OT change is overdue
    It is written by someone who spent four years working on the Bill and I feel that this may provide an answer to questions of why things do not improve in this agency’s work and behaviour.

    I have the feeling that the matter has been over complicated by highly trained professionals. Maori women may, given the opportunity, and academic and financial and managerial support, be able to start a new love and care-centred approach with training of young mothers and opportunities for young families to build a stable life so helping good parenting. Oranga Tamariki should be renamed as a mistake.- hehe.

    I think that there is too much energy going into blaming parents. It has been obvious for decades that there is a group of poor people who are struggling and need help. It is no help to go back to early 20th century ways that are as barbaric as the bad behaviour that the agency is supposedly trying to prevent.


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