Government working on an independent authority to hold Oranga Tamariki accountable

The Government's working on an independent complaints authority which would hold Oranga Tamariki to account.

The call for greater oversight is backed by the lawyer of a mother in a video showing the attempted uplift of her child.

The video is difficult to watch - Oranga Tamariki attempting to take a baby deemed at risk from a mother.

"I have no doubt that everyone there in hindsight can think of a way that that could have been done better," said Children's Minister Tracey Martin.

Janet Mason, the mother's lawyer, believes Oranga Tamariki needs independent oversight.

And the Government is working on it. It's likely the Children's Commission will become the watchdog.

But the Children's Commissioner believes the biggest changes to come will be new care standards coming into force next month.

"Those care standards will be something of a sea change in what's expected from the state in terms of giving care. Children's voices and their experiences will be front and centre," said Andrew Becroft.

70 percent of children in state care are Māori.

Three Māori babies are uplifted from their parents every week, but the Children's Minister won't say it's racism.

"I can't say that its racist, I can't say that, I would have to go and look at each individual case," Martin told Newshub.

"There's still the issue of all the floods of women and babies that this has happened to. They still need a process don't they?" said Janet Mason.

There are already two inquiries planned - one specifically looking into the Hawke's Bay uplift. Another by the Children's Commissioner looking into Māori babies being taken from their parents.

But there are still calls for a much bigger, sweeping inquiry.



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