Oranga Tamariki controversy continues: Details emerge of child in state care hospitalised after restraint

Oranga Tamariki staff have been stood down - and more could follow - after a video emerged which showed excessive force used against a vulnerable child in government care. 

And on Wednesday new details emerged of other injuries in state care, including one so serious a child was hospitalised after being restrained. 

An investigation by Newsroom showed a child - one of New Zealand's most vulnerable - being thrown to the ground by the people who are supposed to take care of them. It showed that same child put in a headlock. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has watched the videos, as she should, because it happened under her watch. 

"It was totally unacceptable, totally unacceptable," she said on Wednesday.

Her Children's Minister Kelvin Davis is overseeing the worst kind of broken system - one that's breaking kids. 

"The system is broken," he told a parliamentary select committee. "There's no hiding from it, it was unacceptable and what we've got to do is fix the system.

"I'm not here to defend the indefensible. Oranga Tamariki has made some serious mistakes and there is no hiding away from them."

Oranga Tamariki boss Sir Wira Gardiner has stood down some of his staff over the video. The investigation will determine if more will go.

"We will know the number of people involved which might be more than the number I've stood down."

He won't say how many staff have been suspended and can't say if they've done it before.

"I don't know that."

Davis didn't know how many complaints have been levelled against those that have been stood down. 

"I can't answer that question, I don't know."

And there's actually a lot they don't know. After revealing that one child was seriously injured in state care - hospitalised after being restrained - they couldn't say what happened.

"I can't recall the details of it," said Sir Wira.

They also didn't know details of the 10 other injuries children sustained in state care over the last four years.

"I don't have that level of detail," said Davis. 

Sir Wira couldn't say if there was any serious injury sustained. 

"I can't tell you that," he said. "I'd tell you if I knew."

They eventually came back to Newshub to say the child was seriously injured in 2020 at the Christchurch Care and Protection Unit. But after conceding facilities like that aren't fit for purpose, there's no word on when they'll be replaced.

"That will be part of our discussion," said Sir Wira. "We haven't made any decisions on that."

No decisions and not a lot of answers. The investigation into this excessive force is hamstrung too.

"It happened a couple of months ago and after a certain amount of time all the video is automatically deleted, I guess," said Davis. 

It's footage that may never have otherwise been seen.