Compulsory children's register "pointless" - Whānau Ora Minister

By Talisa Kupenga

Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare disagrees with the recommendation for a compulsory register for children made by the coroner who investigated Moko Rangitoheriri's death. 

He says another register won't make a difference and a new approach is needed.

"Māori families have a tendency to move around, from towns, back home, wherever.  All registers are pointless and won't save children's lives if they can't even track them down."

Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft backs Henare's stance as does Minister for Children Tracey Martin and the Green Party's Māori Affairs spokesperson Marama Davidson.

Davidson says "This register could further stigmatise and hurt Māori families."

Compulsory monitoring of children, by midwives or Plunket, was the top recommendation made by the coroner.

Henare says Whānau Ora navigators, who were trusted by families and have a more collective approach, were already doing this sort of work.

"They are people from within the communities and the tribes so they know where the children are and which families are facing difficulties. That's why we need to support Whānau Ora."

The recommendation for a register was also put forward by the coroner 10 years ago, following the death of Nia Glassie.