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Lindsay Mitchell

Lindsay Mitchell has been commenting on welfare since 2001. Her articles have been published in major New Zealand newspapers and she has appeared on radio, tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. See lindsaymitchell.blog


Oranga Tamariki is now front-footing the issue probably due to biased media reporting. For instance, Michelle Duff (DomPost, March 28) wrote about the 220 children abused “in state care”, who were “…taken from their families, from their homes, to a place that’s meant to be safer”.

They were not uniformly taken elsewhere. Many were left with or later returned to their family or other family member.

No abuse or re-abuse of children is acceptable. But the facts show that family members and parents posed the greatest danger to these victims. This suggests that where the state primarily fails is in poor decision-making and monitoring of risk.

Which calls into question whether the very best interests of the child are being put first and foremost.

With adoption now a rare event, are potential caregivers being locked out who, despite being the wrong skin colour, would make safe, stable and above all, loving parents?

Doubtless, cultural background and whanau links will become questions of importance for these children in time but immediate security must surely be a priority.

My thoughts will be regarded as sacrilege by some. Exactly why, I’m not sure.

Oranga Tamariki has a duty to protect life. That is their first responsibility. They are New Zealand’s child care and protection agency. All other considerations are secondary, including ethnicity of child and potential caregiver.

Returning to Green co-leader Marama Davidson and her incendiary statement that “torture and abuse” at the hand of the state must stop.

If abuse at the ‘hand of family’ were to stop, Oranga Tamariki, the focus of all this recent venom, wouldn’t need to exist.

Read Lindsay Mitchell’s enlightening NZCPR guest column here > https://www.nzcpr.com/a-childs-ethnicity-shouldnt-outweigh-their-safety/#more-30000