June 30, 2019
Cloak of words or real change at Oranga Tamariki?
The lawyer for a mother at the centre of the Hawke's Bay Oranga Tamariki baby uplift case is sceptical changes to the agency's legislation will improve its attitude towards Māori mothers.
From today the child protection agency is required to take account of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and work more closely with Māori and iwi.
Janet Mason says that is at odds with other parts of the legislation, which the agency has used to uplift babies without prior notification or consultation with the mother.
She says the legislation gives no special rights to the mother, and there is nothing to stop outsiders making decisions without her consent.
"You know they try and cloak it in some Māori words and terms but when you look deep underneath it it’s really got nothing to do with traditional indigenous concepts so I can’t see (section) 7aa will work or any of those changes," Ms Mason says.
Oranga Tamariki is likely to face challenges on a number of fronts, including requests for a urgent hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal and a high court action over its regular use of ex parte or non-notified orders to uplift babies.
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