Make sure the government hears your voice on their planned repeal of 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act. 

Creating a submission is your opportunity to share your perspective with decision makers, and you can do this within minutes. Below we’ve created a quick explainer, with instructions on how to create a submission on the planned repeal of Section 7AA, with recommendations on what you may want to include. 

 

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Why does this matter? 

We know that keeping families connected and ensuring tamariki have a strong sense of self and belonging gives them better futures. Tamariki Māori have a right to be respected as tangata whenua and their culture should be allowed to thrive. We need our systems to support this. 

The removal of 7AA will take away the current obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi to tamariki Māori which were put in place due to consistent failures in the system. These failures included unwarranted removals of tamariki Māori from their whānau and large disparities for tamariki Māori in care.        

What could my submission say? 

Your submission should tell the Select Committee, in your own words, why you think the repeal of section 7AA will have a negative impact on tamariki who interact with the care and protection system. If you feel comfortable to speak about your own experience, either positively impacted by 7AA, or negatively prior to these changes being introduced in 2019, we encourage you to do so to add your individual perspective. We recommend making an oral submission too if you feel comfortable doing so. 

We have some suggestions below, but strongly encourage you to use your own words and share your unique perspective as this can really make a difference to the committee.

Make your recommendation: 

“I do not support this Bill. I ask that the Social Services and Community Committee recommend to the government that the Bill is withdrawn and it does not proceed.”  

Then Explain why: 

Prioritising tamariki Māori connections to their whakapapa and identity give them better long term outcomes. 

We know that seven out of ten tamariki in the care of Oranga Tamariki are Māori. It is in the best interests of these tamariki to be connected to their wider whānau or iwi, and to know their culture and identity, especially when they are experiencing profound change or trauma from entering care. When we are going through upheaval, we all want to feel a connection to the familiar, to our family, or to language that can bring comfort and help us make sense of who we are as people.  

They may be placed with strangers rather than grandparents or other familiar faces. Programmes with partners which benefit tamariki in care are likely to be cut. This will cause harm to our tamariki, and deprive them of the resources they need to thrive and remain connected. 7AA was introduced to reduce the inequities for tamariki Māori. If it is repealed, inequities may increase. 

 

Keeping Partnerships between Oranga Tamariki and iwi and Māori organisations that provide services and care to tamariki provides a better experience.

The current 7AA clause also requires Oranga Tamariki to form connections with iwi, hāpu and Māori organisations so they can deliver services and programmes for tamariki in care in partnership. This can include programmes that provide mental health care, respite or extra social worker support.  

These partnerships put resources in the hands of Māori for Māori. Māori know what is best for their tamariki and should have the resources to share their knowledge. 

We encourage you to discuss any positive outcomes you have experienced or witnessed due to this prioritisation since 2019.

 

Making a submission if you have lived-experience 

If you have experience with Oranga Tamariki, the previous Child, Youth and Family agency, or have interacted with the care and protection system in some way, it would be very valuable for the Select Committee to hear from you. 

Consider sharing your story, and sharing why keeping section 7AA is important from your unique point of view.  Please only share what you are comfortable with and be aware that written submissions are published online and are available for the general public to view.  

 

If you have been affected by any of this content, you can find support resources here https://www.survivorexperiences.govt.nz/ 

 

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