Oranga Tamariki won't stop uplifts as long as children still in danger - Tracey Martin

Ryan Bridge 30/07/2019

Minister for Children Tracey Martin has told Ryan Bridge on Magic Talk Drive that Oranga Tamariki "won't stop as long as children are in danger."

The Minister spoke to Ryan on Tuesday following an afternoon of protests outside parliament which Martin defended.

They have the right to peacefully protest.

Ryan launched the interview by asking what the protesters were demanding, for an end to the uplift of Māori babies. The Minister was adamant that the situation is "not as simple as that".

She says, "the reality is that we need to do better, in supporting families, to look after children and keep them safe".

Ryan then asks if there is a problem of racism in the agency as the protesters have alleged. Martin responds, "social workers come from New Zealand society... they are a reflection of New Zealand".

When pressed on the issue if she believes there needs to be a focus on the circumstances saying, "what we should be focusing on at this time is prevention".

The Minister defends the agency in the face of statistics that show Māori babies are over represented in uplift cases. She tells Ryan that there are "masses of data out there" in which "Māori are highly represented in so many of our negative statistics across New Zealand".

Oranga Tamariki is a responding unit to those negative statistics.

Martin goes on to explain that the agency have taken initiatives to reduce the numbers of children taken into care by working with families to prevent the need to remove children.

You can watch the full interview above.