Children's advocacy group VOYCE concerned frontline will be affected by Oranga Tamariki cuts

  • 18/04/2024

Groups advocating for children are concerned the frontline will be affected by the Government's job cuts.   

The removal of public sector roles has reached the 3000 mark - with the Ministry of Education and Oranga Tamariki announcing 1000 cuts alone on Wednesday.   

A third of Oranga Tamariki's cuts will come from enabling services - a group that takes information from the coalface - leading to policy change.   

Independent advocacy organisation VOYCE is worried about what that will mean for children with lived experiences. 

"It's going to have a massive impact," chief executive Tracie Shipton told AM on Thursday.  

She said an "entire layer" of Oranga Tamariki services were being cut.  

"You've taken out that backroom as the enablers for young people's voices to be heard; that's where the information goes and is interpreted and assists with systems change."  

According to Shipton, the Government needed to commit to ensuring children's voices were still heard despite the job cuts.  

"Young people haven't been consulted about what it is... we haven't been consulted and our young people haven't," she said.  

"I don't know what the rationale is - that's some of what we'd like to know."  

Oranga Tamariki was "moving at pace without enough consideration", Shipton believed.  

There were 447 jobs lost at the ministry on Wednesday.  

While the Public Service Association believed the cuts would impact the next generation, Children's Minister Karen Chhour said at-risk kids would be better off.  

"We're looking at making sure that every cost saving that we do in the back office is re-directed to the frontline services," she told RNZ

"Sometimes management structures... get in the way of good decision-making. We need to take the decision-making out of the back office from people who may not have even met these young people to the frontline service professional [who] know these kids by name, know what they need and can provide the services that they need."