Questions left hanging as Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni hangs up

When Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni admitted she hadn’t read a report from the royal commission, it was all downhill from there.

After nearly a week of waiting for an interview with her, I finally got a call from Sepuloni as she travelled from Rotorua to Auckland on Thursday. I wanted to talk to her about a change to the legislation governing oversight of Oranga Tamariki.

Second question in, I asked if she had read the report on redress from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care – a pertinent document for someone whose ministry was responsible for setting up oversight for Oranga Tamariki.

She hadn’t read it. It appeared she hadn’t heard of it.

“No, that particular, ah, that particular stream of work sits with another minister.”

The only problem with that response was that the redress report specifically addressed issues of oversight of the care and protection system. At length.

One of the recommendations the royal commission made was that it should be enshrined in legislation that children in care have a right to be free from abuse.

It followed that up with another recommendation that should that right not be upheld, the Crown should be liable.

The minister was asked if those provisions were included in the bill she is responsible for. Her garbled response said it all:

“I think, you know, the thing here is that setting up, if we talk about the, the, we’re not talking about, I’m, I’m, I’m not overseeing Oranga Tamariki and how they operate, I guess that, I mean, in terms of, I’m not in charge of Oranga Tamariki. Continue reading

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News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.