“The ACT Party would ensure that the safety and wellbeing of a child is the paramount consideration of Oranga Tamariki, instead of making decisions based on race,” says ACT’s Children’s spokesperson Karen Chhour.

“ACT has travelled the country in 2022 and we’ve heard loud and clear that New Zealanders are tired of being divided by race. We want unity and decisions to be made based on what’s best for individuals, not because of who their great-grandparents were.

“As someone who grew up in state care, I have deep appreciation of what children need. Each child regardless of race, has their own individual circumstances and family background which means we should never take a blanket race-based approach. Every child should be seen as an individual and their wellbeing must come first.

“Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 places duties on the chief executive that are at odds with the agency’s primary purpose to support the wellbeing of our most vulnerable and at risk children. This will ensure they get a chance in life and we can break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.

“While well intentioned, section 7AA creates a conflict between protecting the best interests of the child and race-based factors enshrined in 7AA. This conflict has the potential to cause real harm to our children.

“I know of loving families who have been caring for children, only to have them removed because of their family tree.

“The Oranga Tamariki governing principles and its Act should be colour-blind, utterly child-centric and open to whatever solution will ensure a child’s wellbeing. I have a Member’s Bill that would ensure this happens, placing more value on the best interests of the child rather than the Treaty.

“My Bill, The Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill, will ensure the wellbeing of the child comes before any other consideration. This will ensure the safety of our Tamariki and give our most vulnerable children the best chance in life.”