Duncan Garner: We should demand next Oranga Tamariki head be Māori

OPINION: There'll be plenty of people who will sigh and have a poke at the Children's Commissioner for creating another job for a bureaucrat and this time the senior staff member must have been Maori to get the job. 

A couple of easy targets there for those who don't like big government.

Hang on isn't this discrimination? Isn't this race-based hiring?

Damn right it is. But dammit, we need this one.

I'm talking about the assistant Māori Children's Commissioner Glenis Philip-Barbara.

She comes well qualified - seven kids, including three whangai - similar to fostering - and a long record of service in public life.

But I'd go a step further and demand the next head of Oranga Tamariki is Māori.

Let's stop pussyfooting around and call it, Māori kids dominate the records no one wants to celebrate at Oranga Tamariki.

Too many abused, too many in state care, too many getting a rough ride at home and at the hands of the state. 

Families don't trust the leadership. Mistakes are glossed over and repeated.

It's time to get Māori talking to Māori - why wait another day longer?

So start at the top by putting in someone Māori know and Māori trust.

Let's do it in the name of partnership. We could do a whole lot worse - as we have been.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.