Oranga Tamariki youth facilities run by young offenders, calls for more staff to be stood down - former staffer

Children's Minister Kelvin Davis revealed on AM 11 staff members working at Oranga Tamariki youth justice facilities have now been stood down.

A former staff member has lifted the lid on life inside Oranga Tamariki youth facilities, saying young offenders effectively run them and more staff need to be stood down. 

It comes a day after Newshub exclusively published internal footage of an MMA-style fight at the facility, which was filmed and encouraged by staff. 

Even staff who think they've seen the worst of the worst are shocked by the video obtained by Newshub on Tuesday. 

A former staff member, who Newshub has agreed not to identify says they were "gobsmacked".

"Because Oranga Tamariki talk like 'oh, yep, this is a safe haven for the kids' all that sort of stuff. But staff standing there, watching it, encouraging that behaviour is just not on."

The former employee here at Korowai Manaaki in Auckland got her two weeks of training, she learnt about personal trauma and safe physical restraint, but it fell short.

"With the threatening and the trying to intimidate you and stuff like that, I don't feel there was enough training."

And it's far from the only incident. There have been seven escapes across residences since January, at least one more brawl like this, and claims young people are coaxed into compliance with items like vapes and McDonalds.

Newshub's been told of another incident at Korowai Manaki in February where a number of young people again escape onto the roof. But what proceeded was a riot through one of the units, where the property was badly damaged and staff were injured.

"I felt really, extremely unsafe," the former staff member told Newshub. 

When Newshub asked if the boys run the facility, the staff member said: "Oh yeah, 100 percent"

"I feel like the boys say something they want and they just, at the snap of the finger, get it."

But in this case, she says staff filming is the problem.

"There needs to be a complete change in staff. I think a lot of staff need to be stood down," they said. 

"More than what have already been stood down, because there are a lot of things that haven't been talked about that happen."

Meanwhile, ACT leader David Seymour is calling for Children's Minister Davis to stand down.

"This is the guy who called for the resignation of Sam Lotu-Inga for adults fighting in prison all those years ago. He now has children doing the same thing, untold sexual abuse of children, total dysfunction. He's got to go."

But Minister Davis is digging in.

"I am responsible for making sure that the children of New Zealand are safe and by having this review and finding these problems and fixing them that is taking responsibility."

Despite violent scenes of children fighting, happening under his watch.

When Newshub approached Oranga Tamariki for an interview, their deputy chief executive wasn't available, and the same scenario with the chief executive. 

Newshub also approached Prime Minister Chirs Hipkins' office for an interview, with it being one of his senior ministers at the centre of the story, we were told Hipkins wasn't available either.