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To: The Minister for Children: Hon. Karen Chhour

Save Oranga Tamariki’s Te Tiriti commitments (7AA)

We call on the Minister for Children to NOT repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1998.

Why is this important?

We all want the laws and practices guiding how we as a country look after children in care to have their best interests at heart. We know feeling connected to their culture and history is essential to children's wellbeing.

Section 7AA is the only section of the Oranga Tamariki Act that ensures our tamariki Māori have their best interests protected through state care processes. It allows an ongoing partnership between the Crown and Māori to remedy shortfalls experienced by tamariki and their familial ties through state care processes. The repeal of this section will impact the way Oranga Tamariki interact with our children, straining their whakapapa ties with little to no regard as to the implications.

Minister for Children Karen Chhour plans to introduce a bill to take 7AA out of the Oranga Tamariki Act to Parliament in mid-May.[1]

Section 7AA is the primary legal mechanism for recognising the Crown's Te Tiriti o Waitangi duties in our child protection system, ensuring:

1) The policies and practices of Oranga Tamariki have the objective of reducing socio-economic and historic disparities by setting measurable standards and outcomes for Māori

2) That the polices, practices and services of Oranga Tamariki have regard to mana Tamati, whakapapa and whanaungatanga

3) Partnerships with hapu, iwi and Māori-led organisations are ongoing and strong to protect our Tamariki

4) Accountability is practised by reporting publicly and annually what the Ministry has done, and the impact of those actions with clear next steps.

The recent report from the Waitangi Tribunal sheds light on the deeper implications of such a repeal, emphasising the profound impact it would have on the lives of our tamariki and their whānau.[2] Now is the time for action, for us to come together and defend the rights of our children.

Indigenous voices and perspectives must be central to any changes made to legislation affecting their well-being. The absence of meaningful consultation with Māori about the repealing of these sections is deeply concerning and represents a failure to uphold the principles of partnership and participation enshrined in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.[3] Without adequate safeguards and holistic considerations, changes to the Oranga Tamariki Act could inadvertently harm vulnerable children and families, particularly those already disproportionately affected by systemic inequities and socio-economic challenges.

By signing this petition, you are standing up for the rights of our tamariki and sending a clear message that their well-being and cultural identity must be protected at all costs. Together, let's ensure that Section 7AA remains intact.

Join us in this crucial fight by signing the petition today and spreading the word to your friends, family, and community. Together, we can make a difference and safeguard the future of our children.

References
[1] https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20230726_20230726_44

[2] https://www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz/news/tribunal-releases-report-on-oranga-tamariki-section-7aa-urgent-inquiry/

[3]https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/government-warned-against-repealing-oranga-tamarikis-treaty-commitments/KXJFQ4PU35CSNIBMQE2O7Q6OJI/

https://www.teaonews.co.nz/2024/04/23/not-a-good-look-legal-expert-on-minister-karen-chhours-oranga-tamariki-act-change/

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/514638/crown-lawyers-attempt-to-block-waitangi-tribunal-summons-to-minister-for-children

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/kahu/state-abuse-survivor-urges-against-repealing-oranga-tamariki-treaty-commitments/TG4N2SOFBRDXXMXRYAVKDPCMMA/

https://waateanews.com/2024/04/23/tupua-urlich-dedicated-maori-advocate/

Updates

2024-05-28 22:32:13 +1200

500 signatures reached

2024-05-13 10:46:01 +1200

100 signatures reached

2024-05-08 22:35:15 +1200

50 signatures reached

2024-05-08 12:32:49 +1200

25 signatures reached

2024-05-07 19:41:42 +1200

10 signatures reached