Minister for Children Tracey Martin has some work to do to mend fences with those who are well-placed to help New Zealand children in need of foster care, National’s spokesperson for Children Alfred Ngaro says.
“There are 6,000 of our most vulnerable children in care - 70 per cent of whom are Māori. Where possible, they should be with family and whanau if they are the right people to care for them.
“But the recent TradeMe classified debacle shows that Government hadn’t even bothered to talk to Maori to ensure it attracts the best foster carers to help these children lead better lives.
“Iwi are being told to be part of the solution in finding safe and appropriate homes for these children, but the Government isn’t even bothering to work with them.
“Not only will they not engage with iwi on supporting these children but Oranga Tamariki didn’t even bother to take down the ad and address the community’s concerns for a day and a half – that’s not good enough.
“Claims by the CEO of Oranga Tamariki, Grainne Moss, that they acted immediately to take down the information are wrong - it took much longer than that.
“The Minister must now find a way to repair the broken relationship with the Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui iwi and other concerned iwi after this botched attempt to find foster homes, and the subsequent misleading information.
“Ms Moss claims that Oranga Tamariki has learnt from the mistake. It’s all very well to learn from your mistakes, but not at the expense of a young child looking for a stable environment.
“These children need the best carers and this Government needs to make that happen.”