UN report backs call for inquiry into state abuse

Māori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell are welcoming a new United Nations report which calls for an independent inquiry into the abuse suffered by those in state care or foster care in New Zealand from 1950 to 1990.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says it was alarmed by reports of the alleged abuse of children – the majority of whom were Māori.

“This report, as concerning as it is, highlights what we have been saying – only a truly independent Royal Commission of Inquiry into the abuse of those in institutional, state and other care will get to the bottom of what went on,” says Ms Fox.

“It has the mana that such an inquiry warrants. Anything else will short change the victims who suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and take care of them.

“The UN report points out, like we have, that by not holding an independent inquiry the systemic problems that may have existed may never be exposed.

“How can we learn from the past if we fail to shine a light on its dark secrets?” 

Party co-leader Mr Flavell said the UN report also highlighted the fact that Māori children remained more likely to be placed in state care.

“We applaud the committee for recommending that the ‘whānau first’ placement approach be applied comprehensively for our tamariki. We believe whānau are best placed, with the adequate support, to care for our young.

“The UN report acknowledges that while progress has been made to tackle racial discrimination in New Zealand it doesn’t pull any punches on what remains to be done.

“Among its recommendations are a national action plan to tackle racial discrimination, proper resourcing of the Waitangi Tribunal, respect of the rights of Māori to freshwater and geothermal resources, more work to address the rates of Māori incarceration and an increase the provision and accessibility of primary health care for Maori and Pasifika. These are all things that the Māori Party wholeheartedly support,” says Mr Flavell.

Read the full report here

Authorised by Susan Cullen, 5 Gala Street, Waihōpai