Still no state child abuse inquiry

Shocking details of child abuse detailed on The Hui at the weekend have failed to convince the Government of a need for an inquiry.

More than 100,000 children were removed from their families between the 1950s and 1980s, more than half of them Māori. Many of them suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse as wards of the state.

Four of them told their story to The Hui at the weekend, one describing his treatment as "horrific, inhumane shit".

But Prime Minister Bill English says there's no need for a fresh inquiry.

"There has been a form of that inquiry through the listening service that ran for seven years, designed to get to the bottom of these issues," he told The AM Show on Monday.

"For these people these have been horrible events. They've been able to come forward, have their story heard, get some compensation. Some of them aren't necessarily satisfied with that."

Quentin Tuwhangai isn't. He was institutionalised at 13, and says a formal government inquiry is "well overdue".

Another survivor, Eugene Ryder, says their treatment has been ignored far too long.

"When I was in the home, there might have been 20 of us there and all 20 of us had gone through the same thing - but we wouldn't talk about it with each other," he told The Hui.

Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern says it's impossible to argue against an inquiry after such shocking revelations.

"We've got to make sure that we not only right past wrongs , but we learn from those horrific mistakes that have been made."

Under Labour, an inquiry would go ahead and an official state apology issued.

Mr English says he has no problem acknowledging what happened.

"It's pretty clear-cut and it's had a deeply traumatic effect on some of these individuals. The question now is where to put the energy, really. We focused on changing the system, probably the biggest changes in 20 or 30 years."

Mr English says rather than hold an inquiry, the Government is putting its efforts towards making real change - a part of that being the establishment of Oranga Tamariki, also known as the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

"It's designed to achieve what these people would like to see - that it never happens again," he said.

"We do want to avoid the situation you've got in the UK and Australia - large, very expensive inquiries. I think the Australian one's up over half a billion dollars."

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, who backs calls for an inquiry, believes it could be worst human rights breach in New Zealand's history.