The Government is risking the safety of children by steaming ahead with the Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill despite significant opposition to it, National’s Children/Oranga Tamariki spokesperson Harete Hipango says.
“The Bill would effectively remove the role of the independent Children’s Commissioner and replace it with a board with its functions shared between three different organisations meaning more bureaucracy resulting in slower response times.
“Labour is focused on what is best for the system, rather than what is best and easiest for children to access.
“The Government needs to listen to stakeholders including the Children’s Commissioner. Only eight of the 403 written submissions at select committee were in support of the changes.
“Not only are the Government refusing to listen to the vast majority of stakeholders they are also moving this Bill forward before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care releases its final findings next year.
“Making significant changes to the role of the Children’s Commissioner before any findings have been made public from the Royal Commission of Inquiry is a slap in the face to the victims who came forward during the inquiry to share their stories.
“Lead Minister Carmel Sepuloni needs to explain why the Government is pushing this Bill through and reducing the Children’s Commissioner’s role at a time when it is most needed.”
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