Children's Commissioner agrees with calls for Māori equivalent

News 09/04/2019

The Children's Commissioner supports the idea of having a Māori advocate alongside him, to do what he can't.

The Māori Council is calling for an independent Māori Children's Commissioner to help tackle the high rates of Māori children being placed in care or abused.

Children's Commissioner, Andrew Becroft told The AM Show he's in favour of the idea and would be happy to work with a new commissioner.

"The [Māori] Children's Commissioner will be able to call out where the progress is good, where it's bad."

They'll be able to speak into the Māori community in a way that I can't and lead change in a way that I can't.

Māori make up 59 percent of children in state care and 70 percent of children abused. Becroft said those statistics show the need for a voice specifically for Māori.

"Given the stats, given the necessity for change, an effective fearless advocate who was Māori could bring about a difference, could change things for children."

Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki told The AM Show the system is broken and he thinks Māori need to be involved in fixing it.

I take the view that Māori need to be in charge of this problem, we also need to have honest conversations about what's going on in our own homes.

"More to that point there needs to be more resources and more funding for Andrew Becroft to do his job."

Becroft said a Māori Commissioner would go a long way towards addressing colonialism and putting Māori front and centre in discussions.

"It will mean sharing power and ensuring that Māori are in positions of influence where they can bring about change and they can speak directly to their own culture."

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Katie Fitzgerald