Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Why the Ombudsman should not oversee Oranga Tamariki

Last week the Social Services and Community Committee reported back on the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People's Commission Bill. The bill attracted an unprecedented three minority reports and universal opposition from other parties, but Labour is going to ram it through anyway. Among other things, the bill would make the Ombudsman the sole agency able to hear complaints against Oranga Tamariki - a move criticised by submitters as they are not child-focused and lack specialist skills. But there are other reasons to oppose this move - after all, just look at how they handle the OIA jurisdiction, where they:

The core idea here isn't about getting justice for complainants - instead, its about managing caseload and taking the path of least resistance. The results of this approach can be seen in the general contempt successive governments have had for the OIA, and their utter lack of fear about behaving unlawfully. If they take the same approach with Oranga Tamariki, the results will obviously be much, much worse.