Release: Children fall deeper through the cracks in Govt cuts

With Minister Karen Chhour indicating in the House today that she either doesn’t know or care about the frontline cuts she’s making to Oranga Tamariki, we risk seeing more and more of our children falling through the cracks.

“With every scrap, cut and burn this government makes when it comes to our children – it begs the question of where is Minister Karen Chhour in all of this?” said Children Spokesperson, Willow-Jean Prime.

“We’ve heard that she doesn’t consider Oranga Tamariki lawyers who support children in court as being frontline. This comes as there are 447 proposed job cuts at the Ministry which includes its International Child Protection Unit, alongside funding for hundreds of charities that serve children being put at risk.

“The wellbeing of our children is far too important to have yet another Minister missing in action when potentially harmful cuts are made. Minister Chhour’s whole job is to advocate for and protect our children – she must step in and stop these callous cuts,” said Willow-Jean Prime.

“Similarly, Minister Louise Upston’s ill-informed decision to dismantle the Children and Young People’s Commission is a backward step for the advocacy of children and the desperately needed monitoring of our care system,” said Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.

“One of the recommendations that led to the establishment of a board was the need to have broader advocacy for children – including Māori and disabled. These are the children who disproportionately end up in state care.

“One singular commissioner has not always enveloped or had lived experience of those children, which is why we strengthened the commission to have this representation.

“Turning the independent children’s monitor into a crown entity will make no difference and acts as a red herring, as they were already independent.

“If we keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, we won’t get the changes our children deserve. It is irresponsible of this government to backtrack on a system we set up, purely out of political spite.

“We’ve made some hard-fought gains in this space to ensure our children and young people have a strong voice advocating for them and their needs. To now drop an axe on the Commission is to take us back years in progress,” said Carmel Sepuloni.

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