Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

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Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
Children's and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989
New Zealand Parliament
  • An Act to reform the law relating to children and young persons who are in need of care or protection or who offend against the law and, in particular,—

    (a) To advance the wellbeing of families and the wellbeing of children and young persons as members of families, whanau, hapu, iwi, and family groups: (b) To make provision for families, whanau, hapu, iwi, and family groups to receive assistance in caring for their children and young persons: (c) To make provision for matters relating to children and young persons who are in need of care or protection or who have offended against the law to be resolved, wherever possible, by their own family, whanau, hapu, iwi, or family group: (d) [Repealed]

    (e) To repeal the Children and Young Persons Act 1974[1]
Royal assent27 May 1989
Administered byMinistry of Social Development
Legislative history
Passed1989
Related legislation
Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Act 2022, Children and Young People's Commission Act 2022
Status: Current legislation

The Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 or Children's and Young People's Well-being Act 1989 (titled the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 prior to 14 July 2017) is an Act of the New Zealand Parliament that was passed in 1989. The Act's main purpose is to "promote the well-being of children, young persons, and their families and family groups."[2][3] In June 2017, the New Zealand Parliament passed amendment legislation renaming the bill the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.[4]

Key provisions[edit]

Considered to be groundbreaking legislation at the time, the Act introduced the Family Group Conference (FGC) as a means of making decisions about a child or young person that did not involve a Court Hearing. The Act set out procedures for the removal of abused children from their parent's care, making the best interests of the child the first consideration. It also set out procedures for dealing with youth offenders, making arrest and imprisonment interventions of last resort. Although Police initially feared those restrictive provisions on their powers would cause problems, practical experience has not borne out those fears. The Act also provided for a Commissioner for Children.[citation needed]

The Act determines how the state intervenes to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to prevent and address child and youth offending. It represents how well our society cares for and supports our children and young people. The Act introduced principles that changed the way decisions were made about children and young people, enabling family to become partners in the decision-making process to resolve family issues.[5]

Fundamental to the Act was the incorporation and inclusion of families throughout the process of making decisions in matters of care and protection of children and young people, and offending by young people. This was most clearly reflected in the extensive use of Family Group Conferences as the preferred method of operation, and in the use and involvement of family in meeting the needs of children and young people who had offended and/or who were the subject of care and protection actions. Generally, it was expected that families would provide for their members and solutions were to be sought within the family.[6]

History[edit]

The Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 was one of the significant social service reform legislation implemented by the Fourth Labor Government of New Zealand. It repealed the Children and Young Persons Act 1974, which had been introduced by the Third Labor Government of New Zealand.[7]

When the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 was introduced it was seen to be world-leading child welfare legislation. The Act impacts on the lives of thousands of children, young people and their families. The Act introduced major changes to the way decisions were made about children and young people who were victims of abuse and neglect or who broke the law, and placed New Zealand at the forefront of international legislative best practice.[citation needed]

In April 2007, the Ministry of Social Development called for submissions on a discussion document reviewing how the Act was working, with a view to making improvements.[citation needed]

Amendments[edit]

Children's ombudsmen[edit]

In 2003, the Act was amended by the Children's Commissioner Act 2003, which replaced the previous Commissioner for Children with a new Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC). The OCC was also designated as a Crown entity and tasked with promoting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).[8][9]

In August 2022, the Labour Government passed two new laws replacing the Children's Commissioner with the Children and Young People's Commission and splitting oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system between the Independent Children's Monitor and Ombudsman's Office.[10][11][12]

Name change[edit]

In June 2017, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill 2016, which amended the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 by renaming it the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and specified that 17 year olds would be treated as adults by the justice system.[4]

Section 7AA[edit]

On 1 July 2019, the Sixth Labour Government made several amendments to the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. These amendments included Section 7AA, which requires Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry of Children) to focus on reducing disparities for Māori children and young people, take into account Māori whakapap (genealogy) and family ties when uplifting children, and partner with iwi (tribes) and Māori organisations.[13][14] Section 7AA sought to reduce the high uplifting rate of Māori children by state agencies and to ensure that uplifted children were not disconnected from their Māori families and culture.[15]

During the lead-up to the 2023 New Zealand general election, the opposition ACT party campaigned on repealing Section 7AA, claiming that it prioritised race-based factors over the safety and well-being of Māori children.[16] Following the 2023 election, the newly-formed National-led coalition government announced that it would repeal Section 7AA as part of the National Party's coalition agreement with ACT.[15][17] In response, Waikato-Tainui iwi's (tribe) chairperson Tukoroirangi Morgan announced that his iwi would oppose the Government's plans to repeal Section 7AA. Chief Children's Commissioner Dr Claire Ahmad also expressed concerns that the repeal would reverse gains made by Māori in ensuring that uplifted Māori children remained connected with their families and culture.[17]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cheyne, Christine; O'Brien, Mike; Belgrave, Michael (1997). Social policy in Aotearoa/New Zealand : a critical introduction. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195583345.
  • Eru Ruanui Tia Kapa-Kingi (2018). Ka mate, ka ora rānei? Oranga Tamariki Act not enough to address Māori overrepresentation in state custody and out of home placements - A way forward through Crown-Māori partnership (PDF) (Report). Victoria University of Wellington.

External links[edit]

Reference List[edit]

  1. ^ "New Zealand - Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (1989 No 24)". International Labour Organization. Archived from the original on 13 May 2022. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Oranga Tamariki Act 1989". Government Bill of 1 July 2021. New Zealand Parliament.
  3. ^ Kapa-Kingi 2018, p. 7.
  4. ^ a b "Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill 2016 (2017 No 224-2)". New Zealand Parliament. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Updating the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 - Ministry of Social Development". www.msd.govt.nz. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008.
  6. ^ Social Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Critical Introduction (2005) by Christine Cheyne, Mike O'Brien, & Michael Belgrave
  7. ^ Cheyne et al 1997, pp. 196–196.
  8. ^ "Children's Act 2003". Government Bill of 1 December 2020. New Zealand Parliament.
  9. ^ "Children's Commissioner: Statutory role and function" (PDF). Office of the Children's Commissioner. February 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  10. ^ Palmer, Russell (24 August 2022). "Labour passes Oranga Tamariki reforms despite opposition from other parties". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  11. ^ Witton, Bridie (24 August 2022). "Oranga Tamariki oversight bill passes third reading". Stuff. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  12. ^ Sepuloni, Carmel (24 August 2022). "Government strengthens oversight for children in state care". Beehive.govt.nz. New Zealand Government. Archived from the original on 3 September 2022. Retrieved 25 December 2023.
  13. ^ "First 7AA Report Shows Positive Change for Maori Children". Waatea News. 29 July 2020. Archived from the original on 23 January 2024. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  14. ^ "Practice for working effectively with Māori". Oranga Tamariki. 22 November 2019. Archived from the original on 12 January 2024. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  15. ^ a b Fitzmaurice-Brown, Luke (28 November 2023). "Stripping child protection law of Tiriti provisions would be huge step backwards". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on 29 November 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  16. ^ Chhour, Karen (23 May 2023). "A campaign to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has hit 10,000 signatures". ACT New Zealand. Archived from the original on 30 September 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  17. ^ a b O'Callaghan, Jody (30 November 2023). "Iwi to fight 'Crown stupidity' repeal of Oranga Tamariki legislation". Stuff. Archived from the original on 12 December 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2024.