16 Sep 2022

Treasury rips into Oranga Tamariki for loose fiscal controls

1:31 pm on 16 September 2022
Oranga Tamariki Sign

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

A scathing report by Treasury into Oranga Tamariki's finances has described "loose fiscal controls" within the agency and a "weak organisational strategy and direction".

Treasury's review into the spending of the $1.1 billion allocated to Oranga Tamariki in the 2019 Well-being Budget were called a "disparate collection of ideas, not governed by a clear organisational strategy".

Minister for Children Kelvin Davis told Nine to Noon the entire system surrounding the agency is inequitable, but improvements were being made.

He said his office first raised questions with Oranga Tamariki about expenditure and flow of money when he became the Minister for Children in 2020.

"I would get platitudes; I would get bits of paper with numbers on it that simply didn't tell the story."

He said the papers did not fully explain where the money was going and he was disappointed because despite doing some good work, the ministry was unable to showcase their work because they were "just really bad at telling their story."

Analysis from Treasury also found Oranga Tamariki's spending per child had significantly increased, without any evidence that it led to better outcomes for children.

Davis attributed the reason for this to the increase in cost of care for children with severe needs.

"2 percent of children in care take up 20 percent of the care budget," he said.

He said since the release of the report, things have changed and will be done differently in the future.

"68 percent of children in care are Māori, but Māori providers receive only 28 percent of available funding," Davis said.

"We can't carry on doing what we've been doing in the last how many ever years and getting the same results."

He said there are over 600 providers throughout New Zealand. Over a 100 will have some change to their funding.