MPs welcome new operation model for Oranga Tamariki

By Tema Hemi

Minister for Children Tracey Martin has spoken out about the government's $1.1bil injection into a new operating model for Oranga Tamariki.  The minister is confident it will help mould Oranga Tamariki into the service provider it is supposed to be. 

Martin says, "This was the year that needed to be funded at the level [of] over a billion dollars to change the operating model, to work more directly with iwi and Māori organisations, to start getting in there and working in that prevention and early intervention space."

An expert advisory panel was established in 2015 to look at all the relevant players, including other agencies, private sector, NGOs and community groups.

"When that report came out it said it would take five years to get to where we needed to be," says Martin, "Which was to build the first child protection service this country has ever seen."

But the process hasn't been without its challenges.

"It is difficult at times because there's a lot bickering toward us members of parliament and I don't agree with that sort of strategy," says Employment Minister Willie Jackson, "But I do commend the many who are helping to progress this issue to where it needs to be.  The minister has indicated that it is time to put in the hard work and bring this kaupapa to reality.

"You needed to seperate it from the Ministry of Social development, you needed to set up a totally new way with regard to management structures and government structures.  I'm still visiting Māori, talking to kuia and kaumātua around the country about prevention and early intervention because we don't want Māori children coming into our care." 

The 'Hands off our Tamariki' petition was handed to the Green's Marama Davidson on the steps parliament yesterday, now the hard work begins.