21 May 2024

Bill repealing section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act passes first reading in Parliament

9:35 pm on 21 May 2024
ACT Party MP Karen Chhour

Children's Minister Karen Chhour section 7AA had driven bad decisions by Oranga Tamariki staff. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The bill repealing Oranga Tamariki's obligation to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi passed its first reading in Parliament this evening.

The bill repeals section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

The section includes Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations including the creation of partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations.

Children's Minister Karen Chhour told Parliament the section had driven bad decisions by Oranga Tamariki staff.

"During my time in opposition and before coming to Parliament, I heard devastating stories about how some Oranga Tamariki staff prioritised cultural considerations and the desires of a child's family over the individual need of the child. This sometimes led to unsafe care decisions and disruption for both the children and the caregivers."

Chhour said the change did not mean Oranga Tamariki would stop working with iwi and Māori organisations.

During the debate, Te Pati Maori MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi repeated her earlier claims that the repeal bill was a form of extermination.

"The repeal of Section 7AA is a targeted extermination of our babies - hold tight, don't... have feelings yet - exterminating any ounce of culture, identity and any sense of their Māori selves."

Māori children in care would lose contact with their culture if the bill was passed, she said.

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