Govt respond to pressure over Oranga Tamariki Bill

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

Former MP Dame Tariana Turia says Māori won't know whether they're being listened to until the new legislation relating to children in state care is re-worded. The Social Development Minister acknowledged the wording of the legislation was not right and has been visiting iwi around the country to discuss the issue.

The government have responded to pressure from Māori to re-word the Oranga Tamariki Bill.

Dame Turia says, “What it shows is that there are people who are prepared to front our people that their willing to listen I mean I guess in the end for us we'll know whether we've been listened to when it comes out in the legislation.”

After many submissions were made to the Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley spent the last few weeks visiting iwi around the country.

Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley says, “We've heard similar stories as we've gone around the country. The most important thing is as I said at the start we all want our tamariki to have great lives and so the question now is, how do we work together?”

Tolley presented their new strategy moving forward at a meeting today at Te Wānanga o Raukawa after receiving Dame Turia's invitation. At the end of the meeting, the people decided that what was presented was not good enough.

Spectator George Davis says, “For myself, it’s about the words that are being used in terms of intention and so the intention doesn't sit well within my puku.”

Turia says, “We just have to hope that that translates into action poor ol Te Atatu which was promised us, into the treaty which was promised us and into Matua Whangai which was practised, that’s what we hope for.”

Tariana says that she is pleased that Tolley is willing to front up to the people and listen but she is concerned about whether or not it will be actioned.