Whanau Ora chair Merepeka Raukawa Tait is adamant that change is needed at the top of Oranga Tamariki and the State Services Commission needs to “wear the responsibility.”
“I think (chief executive Grainne Moss) was on a hiding to hell. I don’t believe she was the right person for the job and it has all come around to bite her in the bum but I would have to question the role of State Services Commission.
“It appointed her, she didn’t appoint herself four years ago,” she said. “Why on earth did the commission think she was the most appropriate and best person? It was a totally wrong appointment.”
Her views were shared by the Green Party’s Elizabeth Kerekere, saying that gaining trust from the communities most at risk should be paramount
“I think State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and Minister Kelvin Davis should be looking seriously at whether she’s done her job enough, that she has the confidence of the communities that actually rely on her to make good decisions.”
Army of nannies
National’s spokesperson for children, Dr Shane Reti, said there were bigger issues that needed to be sorted out.
“There are a number of things we need to look at. If we look at the reasons why the babies are taken into care the most common reason is historical risk. Now, yes, that is important but that shouldn’t outweigh everything else. It should be reassessed in the moment and in the time.”
Meanwhile, Raukawa Tait is offering some tangible solutions, close to home.
“On the ground we could marshall an army of nannies within 24 hours to say we’ve identified vulnerable families, you know them, you live in their communities, you’re non-judgmental, you could step up and go in to those homes and you would be embraced. They talk the language of the whānau.”