Politics | Oranga Tamariki

‘It’s a corrupt process’ - Mariameno Kapa-Kingi on Oranga Tamariki Act changes

Te Pāti Māori MPs say they were outraged the government didn’t introduce a bill repealing section 7aa of the Oranga Tamariki Act in Parliament. The move ignited a firestorm of criticism from Māori leaders and lawmakers alike.

“I’m disgusted. It’s a corrupt process,” said Taitokerau MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, expressing the frustration felt by many within the Māori community.

“They’re a conceited bunch of people that truly and honestly believe that they know what’s best for tamariki Māori,” Kapa-Kingi continued, reflecting her deep-seated mistrust and frustration over the coalition government’s handling of Māori issues.

During an urgent inquiry on the plan to repeal, the Waitangi Tribunal summoned Children’s Minister Karen Chhour to clarify her stance on the repeal of section 7aa. But Chhour declined to appear, supported by a ruling by the Wellington High Court.

The Court of Appeal, in a decision announced yesterday, overturned the High Court’s ruling, reigniting calls for accountability and transparency.

Despite these legal wranglings, the bill has now been tabled in Parliament, effectively shifting jurisdiction away from the tribunal.

The minister said as the matter is still the subject of court proceedings, she was unable to comment: “The repeal would make sure Oranga Tamariki was entirely child-centric and would ensure the best interest of the child.”

However, Kapa-Kingi remained unconvinced, highlighting the potential ramifications for Māori children.

“What concerns me the most is that mokopuna Māori will be looked at, spoken to, treated like they are not Māori. So all of the close understanding and requirement of the CEO to do their job, it’s gone.

“If mokopuna are in, , urged Kapa-Kingi, “rallying support for a united front in the fight for Māori hearts and minds to fight for, “let’s stand up and do rights and interests,” Kapa-Kingi says.