January 27, 2022
Monitoring committee no substitute for Children’s Commissioner
An advocate for Māori tamariki and rangatahi in state care fears scrapping the Children’s Commissioner will open the system to political influence and silence Māori input.
A select committee is considering the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill, which will replace the role of the independent commissioner with a committee sitting within the Education Review Office.
Tupua Urlich from VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, who has spent most of his life in state care, says the Bill was developed without input from survivors or iwi Māori.
“They’re talking about a partnership with Māori but they only go to the extent of describing a Māori advisory board, and as (Green MP) Jan Logie said at Bill’s first reading, they can’t even listen to the Māori advisory board they have now so what hope do we have that is going to be the example of Māori partnership on an issue as important as this,” he says.
Mr Urlich says the change is being made because the Children’s Commissioner has been such a strong advocate for systems change and improving outcomes for young people.