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Dr Muriel Newman

The Best Interests of the Child

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On the night of 21 March 1991, emergency services received a phone call from a mother to say she had just returned home after “a couple of hours” absence to find her two-year-old daughter dead.

The ambulance officer arriving at the Mangere home found an emaciated child covered in burns and bruises lying dead on a urine-stained mattress. Delcelia Witika’s blood was found splattered on walls and carpets, her vomit on the skirting board. Her jaw was broken, her teeth were smashed, and her head was scarred from her hair being pulled out. She had suffered “massive” sexual abuse.

Delcelia died while her mother Tanya Witika and partner Eddie Smith partied down the road. They were found guilty of manslaughter, neglect and ill treatment, and sentenced to 16-year prison terms.

The country was outraged when they learnt of the horrific death of Delcelia and the squalid conditions in which she lived. Just as they were horrified by the deaths of Lillybing, James Whakaruru, and the Kahui twins, to name but a few of the hundreds of children tortured and killed by people they should have been able to trust.

Not all of the killers have been brought to justice. Born eleven weeks premature, tiny Chris and Cru Kahui were kept alive through the round-the-clock dedicated care of the doctors and nurses at Middlemore’s neonatal intensive care ward.

On their discharge from hospital at 6 weeks old, the twins were taken to a three-bedroomed state house in Mangere, where 12 other people lived. Only one had a job. Estimates were that over two thousand dollars a week in welfare benefits were going into that household. There were on-going parties, drinking, dope smoking, and fighting.

Just six weeks later, while technically still patients of Middlemore Hospital, the babies were dead of traumatic brain injury consistent with being smashed against a solid object. They had broken bones and internal bleeding.

Whanau members, who claimed to know who killed the children, closed ranks and refused to cooperate with the Police. The code of silence of the “Tight 12” protected the murderer.

These tragic cases helped create an environment in which the Green Party’s proposition that banning the smacking of children would prevent child abuse, gained traction amongst politicians.

As a result, in 2007, Parliament passed the anti-smacking law.

Opponents claimed that child abusers would take no notice of the law change. That has proved to be the case. 

According to Police statistics, the year after the Bill became law, four children under the age of 5 were killed, but the next year 13 died. The worst year was 2015 when there were 14 child homicides.

Altogether, in the 10 years after the law change, between 2007 and 2017, 85 young children were beaten to death.

The number of children being removed from abusive households and taken into State care is also higher now than when the smacking law was introduced, with 6,365 in care in 2018, compared to 6,136 in 2008.

Last year, the Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki as it is also called) received 92,000 reports of potential child abuse. They carried out 41,500 investigations, and substantiated 14,000 cases of abuse. Of those, 1,663 children were taken into State care. 

The number of newborn babies being removed from their parents in the first three months of their life due to the risk of serious harm, has jumped more than a third in the past three years from 211 in 2015, to 281 in 2018.

According to the Ministry for Children, uplifting a child is a “last resort”. The decision is made by a team of social workers, who have to convince a Family Court Judge that a child is at such serious risk of harm that a removal order is necessary. 

If a child is referred to the agency, social workers are required to investigate. They will attempt to engage with the family but if they refuse and the concerns are serious enough the agency has little choice but to remove the child.

Once a child has been taken into custody, a placement with the wider family is the first option. A court plan follows the uplift, with parents given clear goals on what they must do to ensure their child can be kept safe if allowed to return home. 

Legislative changes in the pipeline will put greater emphasis on early intervention and on providing greater support to families where a child might be at risk of removal.

It’s a sad fact that the children being removed from their families often have major developmental and intellectual challenges. Up to a half of all children in care have foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which is caused when mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy. The damage done to the unborn child is irreversible.

Alcohol abuse is a major causal factor in child abuse at all levels, not just through foetal harm, but through the destructive binge drinking culture of the underclass.

While still numerically small at around five percent of families, New Zealand’s underclass arose in the seventies as a result of the major social policy reforms undertaken by the Kirk Labour Government.

At the time, a fundamental social contract existed that ensured only those ‘of good moral character and sober habits’ were entitled to state support.

The ‘undeserving’ poor were supported by charitable organisations that provided food and shelter in return for work. No-one starved and there was no underclass.

By replacing the needs-based ‘good character’ requirement for state support with a universal benefit entitlement, Labour forced taxpayers to start funding destructive, criminal and anti-social behaviours. Other changes, which included increasing benefits to levels similar to a working wage, removed the incentive to find a job and work for a living. Introducing the Domestic Purposes Benefit to enable single mothers to raise children without the support of fathers, sowed the seeds of the dependency cycle.

The consequences of Labour’s toxic policy mix were entirely predictable – generations of chaotic families living on welfare, in conditions that put their children in danger of harm.

Even though the evidence is now overwhelming, that child abuse most often occurs in single parent families on welfare, tragically, little has changed. The State still continues to pay vulnerable young women with little education and few prospects, to have and raise children on their own. And the more children they have, the more money they receive.

It was an attempt to uplift a baby from a young mother who had just given birth that sparked the recent controversy over child protection services in New Zealand.

The criticism quickly escalated into a disgraceful full-scale attack on the Ministry for Children by vested interest groups.

Some iwi leaders, with lucrative race-based contracts with the Government, want control of child protection services. They have seized on the opportunity to accuse the Ministry for Children of racism, calling their social workers ‘racists’ despite a four-year degree course that is disproportionately culturally biased.

Some critics have even gone so far as to call the Maori babies who have been taken into care by the Ministry of Children, “New Zealand’s own stolen generation.”

They are now blaming colonisation for their plight, claiming their whanau is a victim of New Zealand’s white supremacist majority.

But instead of dismissing these ridiculous claims, the Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, is now suggesting that the State agency responsible for the care and protection of all New Zealand children, should share that responsibility with iwi.

Sonny Tau, the chairman of Ngapuhi, joined the call for such a partnership, claiming that “Iwi Maori are the best equipped to design processes and services for the betterment of our people”. But he also reveals that his iwi has “the highest statistics of tamariki in Care. One third of all children in care nationwide identify as being of Ngapuhi descent, which is nearly double any other Iwi.”

In their clamour to appease the radicals the Government appears blind to the danger of handing the care of abused children to the relatives of the abusers. 

This week’s Guest Commentator is Brian Giesbrecht, a retired Canadian Judge with 30 years of experience in dealing with indigenous child abuse in the Canadian justice system. Having published a number of Brian’s common sense articles over the years, I asked him what advice he would offer to New Zealand given that our Government appears to be on the cusp of allowing a race-based ‘solution’ to the child abuse problem.

I cannot recommend his response, New Zealand’s Maori Child Welfare Problem, highly enough.

Essentially, Brian is scathing about the claims that indigenous children will be better served by race-based services:

“When I became a judge in 1976 they were just starting to talk about turning the control of child welfare agencies over to Indigenous groups. This changeover took place during the 1980s, and 90s. The theory advanced by Indigenous advocates was that there were far too many Indigenous children in care because white child care workers did not understand Indigenous culture and the Indigenous way of life. If only Indigenous workers and supervisors could take over, the numbers would go down. That didn’t happen. As the Indigenous agencies took over, the numbers went up instead of down. That remains the case today.

“For the next two decades a combination of incompetence and ideological zealotry condemned many Indigenous children to bleak lives. Children were regarded as the property of Indigenous tribes, and this lead to tragedies. Children who had been in stable homes with loving parents since birth were taken from their homes and placed in Indigenous homes, simply because the foster parents were not Indigenous. There were a number of high profile deaths of children supposedly under the care of an agency that resulted from a combination of incompetent care at the agency’s hands, and placement with biological parents who were totally incapable of looking after children. Deaths were followed by inquiries that made many recommendations – most of which were not followed.

“Among other things, I recommended that until indigenous agencies could be brought up to the same standard as the agencies dealing with white children, they should be disbanded. I also strongly denounced the system of categorizing children by race, and stated that best interests should be the only test for all children. The province basically disregarded my recommendations and went ahead ‘devolving’ child care responsibility based on race only.

“It turns out that culture was never the problem. Children need loving, stable homes. Racial, religious and ethnic considerations are secondary.”

We are considering printing Brian’s paper in booklet form and sending it to all MPs, media, social policy makers, and other influential New Zealanders, to help prevent the race-based takeover of child protection services. If you would like to support this project, please click HERE to help.

These are dangerous times as tribal leaders seek to use the strong political influence they have gained from having seven Maori seats all held by Labour, to expand their power base into the governance of our most fundamental institutions.

The only answer, as Brian notes in his must-read article, is for culture to be removed from policy altogether, leaving it where it belongs – as a personal issue, not a matter of state.

I will leave the last word to Brian, who, in his forthright manner exposes the political games that are being played in Canada – and New Zealand as well:

“In Canada we have settled into a stagnant pattern on Indigenous issues. Indigenous advocates argue for the continuation of the separatist status quo, but with more money and power for themselves. When Liberal governments are in power they try to appease the Indigenous leaders by giving them what they want. When Conservative governments are in power they simply try not to offend the separatist Indigenous sensibilities. Both parties simply send cheques to the chiefs, and hope that the chiefs will not make too many demands. The chiefs’ main concern is to keep the money flowing. No politician dares to publicly oppose this separatist, racialized dystopia, and expose it for the nonsense that it is.”


Do you support the call by Maori leaders for child protection services to be run by iwi?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


It’s very obvious that culture is the problem. Why is it that indigenous cultures have big problems? It’s because their so called leaders want to cling onto the power and status Peter
Another excuse for stealing from the taxpayer Hugh
There should be no difference between Maori and any other race in NZ all should be treated the same. Dave
If a child is not already being cared for in it’s current cultural environment, how does keeping it in that cultural environment increase it’s chances of good care? The Iwi leaders simply don’t want to admit that they have failed for generations to lift their game (of parental care) and blame the white man for it as usual. David
More ongoing madness by the ruling politicians. This country will ultimately by divided by race.  Gary
Definitely not!!! Too many cover ups & no accountability when it comes to whanau & iwi  Lou
This is absurd – nothing but a power grab by Maori to increase their influence. I’m getting sick and tired of their bloody cheek ! William
It does not matter what “colour” the child is. The child protection services should be in the interests of the child, not any political group. Belinda
There is only one race & that is the human race Noel
Look to Canada’s failed experiment on this model Klayr
Best interest of the child, any child. what the heck does authenticity have to with it. Follow the money, it is always about the money and power. a huge money scam served with lashing of white guilt and Low IQ politicians with no back bone.  Sam
Let’s leave ‘race’ out of child welfare and protection and make sure ALL children get the same service by professionals. Sylvia
Immediate and extended family are primarily responsible for their children%u2019s welfare and safety. When that fails, as appears to be often in NZ society, the State must intervene on behalf of the rest of us. One would hope the State uses the best practices and employs the most experienced staff, irrespective of ethnicity, to care and protect those vulnerable children. For our society to prosper, the perpetrators of these atrocities against children must be brought to justice and treated in the harshest of ways. When is the State going to step up to the plate? In the past few decades the so called intellectual power mongers, both Maori and Non-Maori, in New Zealand have failed these children to further their own agendas. We all need to acknowledge that a disproportionate number of Maori families and Maori leaders have let their children down and iwi let it happen. Why would any sane person hand over control of child protection services to Maori iwi? Martin
No damn way, another road to disaster that will probably be taken by Labour and the support of the iwi. Fraser
Definitely not. I have been on a jury in a Maori child abuse case which tried to work it out by Maori justice, and that definitely did not work. Chris
Muriel says it all. I think the benefit should be limited to 2 children. Do gooders will say the children will be deprived. No way. The extra money for extra kids just goes on more drugs and booze!  Juliet
run by professional providers not because they are Maori. laurie
They should clean up their own mess and paying for it with their own money ( actually our money since they get hard earned taxpayer dollars blown up their backside by the billions). Michael
The Maori history of child abuse is there for everybody to see, so why would we commit future generations of poor little souls to more of the same.  Lloyd
Firstly the Government should never be involved with looking after children who are the responsibility of the two people who created them and no one else. But if the Gov. want to hand over looking after the bunch of half caste children to the adult mob let them supply money etc from all the handouts that the have got from the treaty and not take anymore tax payers money who the bent politician’s always say gov. money when it’s not. if it carries on as it is then after the first child is removed from the mother and the women ends up pregnant again she does not get any financeial gain unless she agrees to be steralised, bad enough that we have a mp who has had a child while not married so the rest think they can do the same and be free loaders. Richard
I cannot support any policies based on race. In the case of defenceless, abused children it is even more cruel to trust them to a community that does not value them and even worse sees their young lives as a source of revenue. Jill
The more money we give for cultural appropriate services, the worse the statistics seem to Maori. WE need to stop victimizing people and work in building their resilience. Luciane
Actually the highest paid state beneficiary unmarried mother calls herself PM. No-one elected her but she was placed there by our undemocratic system of MMP. She is a poor role model – she promised to reduce child poverty but she accepted over $54,000 for maternity .leave. She will do nothing about the feral Maori Child Welfare Problem as like Maori, she suffers from terminal immaturity and identity politics, She is not a leader, has no vision or common sense which is sadly lacking in our country. In fact did I hear that the cost of living has nearly doubled under Labour/Green/NZF govt? The Left have made a mess of NZ so where is our Trump to tell us how it really is and do something about it? Monica
Part of the reason for family violence is the elevating of the disgusting spectacle of the haka to a level of social acceptability. All schoolkids these days are expected to place some cultural value on the Haka. The Haka was more than just a challenge. It was intended as a warning that bloodshed, killing, slavery , and cannibalism was about to happen. When that process is held up as socially acceptable then it sends the wrong message to our children and their parents. It is time for that sort of stone age ritual to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Donald
The whanau that these children come from are disfunctional, so children should only be returned when it can be demonstrated that the child is in a safe environement Marion
. and another 6 babies will die as 15% of the population seek to control 100% Tom
The fact that there are far more Maori children that need child protection is my reason for voting against this. Michelle
Its time to give them an opportunity to stand on their own two feet. Self determination but they will have to deal with the consequences – both good and bad. Sam
Why should they be allowed? Its bad enough the whanau regularly protect child killers without engendering further racist division in NZ with todays quasi-maori getting legislated protection. Christ this countries politicians have a lot to answer for in the last 20 or 30 years of pandering to protect their avarice snouts at the trough. Mike
Maori are the cause of the problem. To think they could prevent these problems is lunacy. Drastic action is needed on at least two fronts. (1) If you pay girls to have babies what are you going to get. That’s right…….more babies and in many cases to young mothers who have no clue on how to raise a child. Solution………pay this group of hopeless cases a sum of cash to get sterilised. Even at 10k per girl this would be cheap in the long run and think of the poor children who would not be created and put through a life ( a short one in too maany cases) of hell on earth. WE have got to stop this production line of misery. More of the same won’t change anything. (2.) When you see the continuing heaps of garbage this Govt keeps coming up with the argument for Binding Referenda just gets stronger and stronger. Binding Referenda will force our useless politicians to make the right decisions just like they do in Switzerland. Ronmac
Time and experience has proved that the children are in danger because of family ‘culture’ my sister was a social worker and said the hardest thing was to find a family member fit to look after the child/baby Bev
Iwi couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag if they were in one. All they want is money so they don’t have to work. Just use common sense, treat everyone the same and get away from racism. Eric
We should have evidence based policy. Canada is a great example of raced based policy that has failed. IN NZ as services are transferred to iwi interest groups all the statistics are heading in the wrong direction.  Henry
If Maori have not been able to assist families with child protection problems now, how will they be able to when they are in an organization. Any funds they receive will be wasted. Frank
from all available evidence iwi are part of the problem, so this would be akin to putting the “fox in charge of the chicken coop”  John
you would not let a fox guard the chickens  Rick 
I’ve seen very little evidence that any government agency put in control of various iwi, is anything more than a money and power grab, and does very little to help those it’s meant to help.  Brent
There should be no race based policies in the NZ legislation. The tribal elders should use internal discipline and tribal funding to control and educate their tribal members. gerry
NO under any circumstances . Steve
Billions of money poured into maori and they still have a drug alcohol and insest epidemic.  Mark
Any race-based laws, in any country, are detrimental to the country’s future. Robert
We’re all equal, citizens and New Zealanders. Same rights and opportunities for all is just democracy. I’m a 5th generation Kiwi and I don’t expect or receive extra rights and privileges!! Bruce
Isn’t that like letting the fox guard the hen house? David
So far unable to demonstrate they can do better than current department. Will just lead to poor outcomes and massive gravy train. Greg
maori iwi and there family attitudes are the main problem steven
The price tag will be huge, the results will be disastrous. Craig
This must never happen.. Donald
If you have a parent who is an abuser does that mean you have the right to become an abuser – when are we going to stop using history as an excuse for poor behaviour. Separating our cultures will lead to NZ going backwards and becoming an island community like Tonga – is that really where we want to head? Let’s celebrate the positives of both cultures and move forward together as a united nation – not a divided one. Denise
No separate services !!!!!!! One for all and just ensure children are protected by two parents — IF ANY. Too many children are being born end of story. Alan
Absolutely not. What a complete joke. Where were iwi when so many Maori children were bought to their deaths by Maori parents caregivers and such like. I am so over this country of ours becoming everything Maori.  Suzanne
We want to save these children, not increase the number of children being killed. Jasmne
pay the benefit with coupons not cash William
when they stop killing their kids an raise them selves out of poverty  paul
Race-based legislation is aparthied and is not welcome in NZ Paul
Absolutely not. As per Alan Duff s coment”Welfare & poor Iwi leadership is wrecking any future Maori progress Alan
The Maori culture was entirely based on aggression.. Occupation of an area was once again based on the ability to subdue the previous tribe. Land ownership was never a positive acquisition. John
Vulnerable infants do not see colour in their carers; they see only a person that they are drawn to by instinct. when that person provides safe care all is good; when the “care” is below par, the colour doesn’t make it good. Murray
The Christchurch massacre told us all that we need to be ONE. Maureen
Absolutely not – just an excuse by Iwi to collect more taxpayer’s money from the government. The kids will get less care, and more chance than ever to be mistreated or abused Dave
No, it just won’t work. Tim
Once they show that they can be responsible for their “people” then maybe but until then remove their money. They have no mana in this game. Robert
More kids will be in danger! Cam
Come on National…… for goodness sake take this issue head on and DO SOMETHING FOR YOUR SUPPORTERS. You just MUST KNOW that so many Kiwis are wanting some positive and gutsty leadership on our growing racial problem.The Elephant is taking over the room. See it1 David
Common sense is overruled by political self interest. Is there an unwritten rule that political parties don’t repeal bad law made by others? The Maori and Green minority parties are boot-licked by the two major parties and bad laws are not being done away with. Watch what Donald Trump is doing in the USA, NZ needs a party that serves the majorities wishes, not a party that prioritises its own re election. Rex
No I do not support this concept. If Iwi are so concerned, they can and should start making changes within their tribal groups of their own accord so that fewer children need have any involvement with child protection services. History has proven that Maori are incapable of dealing with this situation. I also believe that there are cases where assistance from specialised trained health and social services may benefit an outcome regarding young at risk Maori. However the call for Iwi to control/manage child care services would be the equivalent to adding fuel to the fire. Derrick
Maori do not have a good track record with solving their problems, so why should they be trusted with this?  Mika
Sadly, Too many Maori cannot be trusted Peter
Maori have already killed more than enough of their children, without the state encouraging the situation Bob
That will only make the problem worse and ineffective as they are incompetent at operating or runiing any services effectively or competently. IAN
That is the last thing we need. They have already covered up abuses within there own. Keep them out of it .it will only make things worse. Mary
It will be a tragedy if this happens Wayne
It is simply an extension of the iwi gravy-train, which they try to disguise by claiming it is racist not to proceed Bob
In my many years of working at the coal face of ensuring that vulnerable children at risk of poor outcomes are given the best childhood experience, I have learned that a stable, nurturing home situation gave those children the best start in live. Race and ethnicity were secondary. If a stable home life was part part of the mix, the outcomes were good. In my view, we still have a long way to go before NZ considers the notion to seperate our child protection services based on race and ethnicity. Hildegard
Let Maori look after their own But with their own money and not coming to the taxpayer for any handout whatsoever. Sue
They are not capable Angela
No way. It will only end with more dead children or kids who have poor life outcomes Robert
They don’t need more money. They can look after their own folks. Peter
B……….. nonsence! Martin
Because information required by the state would be covered up and they would be accused of racism when this information was required. Brian
The Iwi just want another hand out and do nothing to break the cycle of abuse to their children Tony
No – the old saying “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse” springs to mind! Scott
this will not serve the best interests of the children concerned Robyn
Continue to build a cultural wall in NZ ? So wrongdoings can be kept in house and spending tax payers money on yet another money making venture? We have politicians afraid to speak up for the population and rather do what a minority wants them to do, to avoid confrontation and in the hope they keep their seat in parliament. Ido
A total manipulative scam by Maori elite to suck more money into their lap. Peter
Please NO Pam
Absolutely not. Just another form of income for the perpetual gravy train. As a country we need to learn from the tragedies of the indigenous welfare policies of Canada. But with so called “Maori Academics” in the politicians ears I fear we are already well down the same path. The call by these “Maori Leaders” should be shown up for the nonsense that it is. Rex
While it may appear to be a good idea, it could be very dangerous for vulnerable children. Brian
We don’t need a racist apartheid approach in NZ at all. William
It is bad enough all ready, with the rights of the low moral character birth parents being catered to, and the new parents stuggling along with minimal help for problems that they or their family have no experience with. Martin
Maori are (as usual) playing the race card on this issue. It is disgraceful how they think they know better. They don’t! My God we need someone or organisation to stand up to these self-serving, self-righteous bigots and call them out for what they are. Robert
If they cared so much, how come they haven’t stepped in to help the many vulnerable kids before now? They’re only after the money. Fiona
Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bruce
Its like the looneys running the asylum Maurice
about time all NZ’er consider themselves as one united people and no separate by the old ancient tribe mentality. Michael
God no….. Their pose is simply a denial of the truth…. anything but admit Maori cannot get their house in order. Everyone else is to blame. Gillian
Our politicians are too deaf to the voices at grass roots, too afraid of offending Maori seats and to busy looking to their “ideology mothers” overseas to govern effectively Reni
NZ colonized 1840.Canada 1519-We have another 320yrs of treaty gravy train, no doubt Ad infinitum. In 1975 thought if we addressed the issue-paid out- problem would be solved.44 years later after several Full & Final payments, new issues surface everyday. Why not be pro-active and all contribute $100.00 as a start to circulate this useful insight to all MP’s & Public.Its a small amount to invest in the future of OUR country Harry
Child abuse in New Zealand is a national problem. Child protection services must be run from central government. One rule, one set of policies for all. Grahame
If the iwi haven’t already been supporting their whanau over the years then why is more money into the well-lined pockets of the elite going to make any difference in the future. ? It’s not! Sarah
Every child has the right to be nurtured, loved and cared for in a stable home environment regardless of race, culture, religion etc. Glen
The Maoris will just plain and simple F*** it up Graham
They have not done a great job so far at looking after their young , does money make the difference ? peter
How could one support such a call? It is blatantly racist, and will not help the children. Richard
They run National Radio and the grievance channel on television now. Surely their hands are full. Bruce
It is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken house !! norm
you have got to be kidding!!! gene
Iwi are the cause of the problems. Why would any sensible country, or any person for that matter, look for a solution among those who have created the problem. Barmy Mike
NO! A dangerously misguided, and racist suggestion. It simply doesn’t work – just look at NZ’s recent history and the appalling repercussions arising from this sort of thinking. The childrens’ best interests and welfare should be paramount. Les
If Iwi think they can do it better WITHOUT their hands out for government funding, then let them go for it. As long as the ‘Press’ are given ALL details when another innocent child of Maori descent dies, no problem. If all of those conditions were strictly enforced, it would remove their ability to play the race card, & here’s an unlikely scenario, might even make Maori accept personal responsibility for their DISGUSTING, usually drug or alcohol induced behaviour. A.G.R.
Definitely not! They’ll screw it up and more innocent children will suffer. Kate
I am sick of tired of hearing all the problems maori have is due to colonization. Stupid politicians on both sides of the house have allowed us to get this stage where we have separate Nations, separate laws with the majority of the people paying for 12% of the populations way of life. I can not believe that logical thinking people can be so deceived. dene
Abuse will be hidden. Bodies will be buried in secret. Helen
A loving environment in their culture is all that is needed. David
Government enforced racism has no place in New Zealand. It only causes division. Do people only want the babies for the money they bring to the extended family? Kirke
It seems almost unbelievably cruel but, yes, if iwi want to take responsibility for those Maori children then they should be enabled to do so. Two things would then happen: (a) the protesting iwi would discover a lot about the real causes of the problem and (b) they would be keeping their own problem in their own over-subsidised backyard. It is about time they discovered that the parents of those suffering children, living on booze, fast food and drugs, financed by welfare payments which are wrung in taxes from the working population are their own worst enemy and the scourge of this country. Rob
Absolutely not!! In fact everything should be run by the best qualified people for the job and nothing should be based on race. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get rid of everything that is race-based that seems to be in every facet of our lives, but it’s got to happen sooner rather than later if this country is ever to be great again. We are totally bogged down in ‘race’ and it’s dragging us all down with it. Helen
it is clear maories have a wrong attitude towards very young children, plus violent families do not provide a safe environment Gerard
Isn’t that why we have a government? Tony
History shows that it won’t be an effective way to reduce child abuse. Better to put the children’s welfare first & foremost. karen
This is yet another attempt to culturally divide us all. Iwi are even suing the government now for climate change!! How can we ever learn to grow up as one united group of people as long as we tolerate the actions of greedy separatists who continue to use the Waitangi tribunal to gain $ for their own use? David
Amazing simple and powerful article on the best interests of the child. Only by understanding the problem can we ever hope to one day implement a solution. Gregory
Totally opposed as it is racist – we are one nation Leo
The Maoris can not look after their own children. It shows by the number of deaths each year. Clive
Why on earth would the care of the children be given to the Iwui when the Iwi are the abusers!! Jon
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! what dont they understand about NO!!!! Wayne
Would be absolute disaster Bryan
Child protection services are run the government for the protection of all New Zealand children. I think it should be called the Ministry for Children and the Oranga Tamariki name dropped. By calling the Ministry Oranga Tamariki gives rise to the idea that it is catering only for maori. It is well passed time that governments should bring back laws that enhance the well being of citizens and do not pander to cultures. Changes may upset some in the short term but there is never gain without pain.t Dennis
As always somebody else has to pick up the pieces. Frank
I cannot improve or add to the compelling arguments in the covering article. Iwi have not and can not demonstrate that they have any ability or conviction to be trusted to administrate such vital services. Colin
Hell no. While there are many good Maori’s looking after their children properly , the simple truth is that far too many Maori are still not able to look after themselves, never mind children. Those who have been found guilty of child murder and their closed mouth families should be jailed for whole of life. Tom
The world is truly mad and sad. NZ politicians should HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME. Same goes for the crooked politically-driven mainstream media. Sharen
Canada did this, the death toll for Indigenous children rose sharply. Race or religion should not be a consideration when protecting children from abuse. george
The traditional tribal leaders are generally an incompetent group of individuals who are there by birth only. Errol
that would be race based and has no place in New Zealand John
Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Rank idiocy! Reuben
They have not demonstrated the competence to do so. Russell
Social services must not be allowed to be divided based on race. We are all Kiwis and we all matter. We do not want more apartheid systemically encroaching our society. The service should provide adequate response for all “Kiwis” Stewart
Focus on prevention by incentivising two parent responsible parenting Keith
Iwi Have not taken any interest in these babies but no doubt will be demanding big contracts to provide what they should do freely Joan
It is a scam to get more cash what else could it be? Warren
Not if they are funded by the public purse. Richard
We would be simply lining the pockets of greedy Maori who never have given a dam for their children. Keith
blind leading the blind barry
No, No, No. Pierre
Send proposed booklet on topic to all MP’s Paul
If this stupid Government want to give control to iwi then let iwi fund it not the N Z taxpayer and if it turns to shit which it will then jail those responsible.AS a taxpayer and N Z born I am sick of this bullshit and the Gutliss response from our politicians on all parties. Ken
had a gutsfull of maori making claims for their mistreatment of their own children Graeme
to many children die with indigenous people of nz Owen
It is proven old ways are not working. Current family control often escapes best available Help, supervision/protection Helpless victims remain helpless. replacing that proven failed system with a similar iwi based model while hiding behind the racists umbrella irresponsible. Maoris are doing it to themselves. Change practices within their behaviour to benefit victims first. Be and act responsibly. for the innocent firstly. Mike
Absolutely not. All children should be cared for appropriately in NZ. Chris
possibly yes if they pay for it out of their treaty settlements. could be a payback for not paying tax. Ian
Great article Dick
Many years ago a friend of my family fostered a Maori child and when the child went home for weekends the child came back with an anal discharge. The friend took the child continually to Doctors to no avail and finally she took the child to the STD clinic and the child had an STD. The child was adopted by these friends because of this.. It was family members who gave this to a very young toddler. Horrific? Jan
Definitely no. Erica
In my opinion child protection services should be ministered by the laws of the country & be one law for all peoples. I think it gets dangerous when you break society down into sections like this. In Gods eyes & in currant law all people are equal which is how it should be. Mary
Another poorly thought out knee jerk response by greedy iwi. Paloma
Money Hungry Maori Elite are the problem not the solution and Naive politicians in the Ardern camp are the cause of the problem. Handing billions of dollars to Maori Elite simply guarantees NZ will soon become a 4th world country governed by savages. Jon
Maori lack the skills for the job. Keep racial emotion out of it. Children need properly compassionate carers who will provide a stable loving environment. Michael
I thought we were one country, with equal rights, but obviously some are more equal than others, do gooders promoting Apartheid! Laurie
The EVIDENCE is there it,s an UNSEEN CRIME that labour & the greens can see but IGNORE.WAKE UP NZ race based policies are NOT DEMORATIC & will only give iwi MORE power than ordinary TAX PAYERS & YOU WILL BE AFFECTED,your children,grandchildren if iwi & race based policies are allowed to continue.EMAIL BOTH labour & NATIONAL to STOP this we are ALL one & READ the treaty of Waitangi NOWHERE in it is PARTNERSHIP ETC MENTIONED there,s ONE LAW FOR EVERYONE ONLY MENTIONED. Cindy
definitely not. the child comes first despite its so called ethnicity Elsa
The problem they want to fix was created by the Iwi in the first place! So how will they fix it with all the nepotism that goes on. To me it looks like “Dog eats Dog! They get the same support as non iwi Roger
Politician should stop pandering to this racial divide. We all are entitled town and practise our cultures within our lives but when out we are New Zealanders governed by one law!! Timothy
There are apparently many no-hoper families among our Tribal friends.!!!??? David
Hopeless David
The opening paragraphs of this article had me in tears. Tears of pity for the suffering of the children, and tears of outrage that our weak, flabby excuse for a judicial system allows those guilty of such foul deeds to continue to live. These people are of no value to society, and never will be. Without question, their lives should be terminated, as they have terminated the lives of innocent children. TOBY
Best interests of the child are the cor protection issue NOT racial, religious or ethnicity factoring Rob
The transfer of power to ISIS Will make the situations worse. John
Children are the responsibility of all NZers. Not by race. Denis
Why in God’s name would anyone condone helpless Children being looked after by the very People that are causing the problems in the first place. The People that want to do this Iwi/Whanau Care, first get yourselves, qualified for it. Bottom line. Geoff
The evidence is overwhelming against such a move. This action is shameful. Lawrie
Throwing vulnerable children into the lion cage is not an answer. The answer lies in Maori taking responsibility for their behaviour and not blaming everyone else. Jenny
But maybe they should clean up their own mess. Much more publicity should be given to these events. I object to NZ receiving bad world press because of the shocking child abuse of Maori. Roger
Another rort for money that will make things worse if anything. Andrew
The problem already is Maori. They can fix the problem without government help if they are truly committed Jeff
But I would support offering sterilization to people wanting benefits and prison inmates. Lilly
Maori are the Problem, When are Maori going to take responsibility for their actions.and admit they have a violent culture Don
Thank you Winston, for fostering this loony bunch of misfits upon us. Come on National,show some backbone and you will walk in next year. Ross
it’s just another step towards NZ’s own apartheid. Warwick
More racist nonsense Gareth
Apartheid again! Peter
Iwi have never before looked after the interest of their vulnerable children, why would they now all of a sudden do it or even be able to do it Ursula
How long before we wake up to the wrongs of race based decision making? Peter
Maori are well documented for tribal incest, child molestation and brutality. They are only trying to hide all of their misdemeanors if the so called chiefs and Iwi leaders take over from the Govt. We are One Nation and should have one law for all. Enough of these tribal hand outs and stand over tactics by a few. Wayne
NO – State sponsored separatism. We can see this in the artificial bias used to present internment data to demean Maori. Media reports 50% people in jail are Maori yet a more accurate and useful representation of the same set of statistics is that 95% of people in jail have come from single parent homes. We should fix the core problem of govt. policies encouraging single parent hood, not use the emotive, erroneous statistic that helps no one. Bruce C
They can’t look after there own affairs let alone others !!!! ???? Graeme
No way, they can’t protect their own. Graeme
What a joke! I work in an environment where the majority of families are of Maori decent, and the conditions that the adults live in and consider to be normal is frightening. The children that live within this environment are heading towards the same never ending cycle of state dependency enjoyed by the parents for the last twenty to thirty years. Yes something needs to be done but no politician is prepared to stand and be counted for fear of the RACIST tag being pinned on their chest. Barry
The interests of the child should be paramount, race second. Jill
APARTHEID in NZ needs to end. Was it not NZ who clamoured for an end to apartheid in South Africa? Yet it is perpetuated in NZ with separatism primarily by way of separate seats in Parliament reserved for part Maori interests. Geoff
I answered Yes because perhaps Maori will start to take some responsibility for caring for these wretched children born not infrequently to girls too young and uneducated who have no idea of civilized behavior. Iwi MUST contribute financially as well and not rely solely on the taxpayer. Maori need to stop always focusing on the negative, it gets them nowhere in the long run. Barbara
Flagrant racism and a grab by tribes for more power an money Bruce
We are already way too far down the apartheid road as it is-the comments made by some Maori leaders are just disgusting and show their contempt for the children who have been abused. Roger
Paramount principal must apply as justification for social work decisions. The welfare of the child comes first. Brian
It’s not about race, religion or ethnicity it’s about what’s best for these vulnerable children Kevin
It is racist. Ministry for children is for all new zealanders, not just so-called maori who are only part-Maori and ignore the rest of their ethnicity. Liz
Racist tragedy Gordon
Give something a maori name, watch taxpayer money flow into it & wait for the inevitable chaos , overspending & fallout! Frank
Warnings need to be on Alcohol packaging just as cigarettes due to the damage caused to the unborn child.We need to replace Violent television with wholesome family television.There is too much hate and selfishness in our society to the point that children are dying. Carl
Children at risk have to go where they are safest regardless of race. Willy
The iwi have had years to care for the children. this is only getting worse and more violent. Concerned for the future. Heather
MUST read; FORBIDDEN HISTORY by John Aldworth. to know who we mare really dealing with!! Web site of the same name .co.nz MUST follow ; Tangatawhenua16.wix.com and a very ancient burial cave just being opened .up!!! Rodney
A child need love and care first not what race or anything else The child can decide for themselves when they are older Cherryl
Maori have proved time an time again, that when they gain power over financial resources, or systems, the whole system degrades and quickly flies to bits. The money disappears through fraud and embezzlement and the whole system becomes another failure. Basing public services on race is also disastrous. Most children need just a few basics such as secure, warm, dry, safe and loving environments with opportunities to learn and participate in positive experiences accompanied by a framework of behavioural guidelines that are enforced. Firm and fair. They then have the tools to make their own decisions, most of which we hope will be positive. Then if they like, they can pursue whatever cultural influence they suits them.”Maori” so often means poor experience, not good experience and the evidence is incontrovertible. Why would more Maori influence necessarily produce better results? You can answer that question for yourselves. Dianna
More political Nonsense, what the country needs to face up to is that there are not any more pure blood Maori being born in New Zealand so we must be all one Les
More racist nonsense Hylton
They cannot run anything Mike
It would be yet another step on the dangerous path to ethnic separatism. Of course, those Maori loudly voicing their desire for this idea will expect everyone else to continue bankrolling their racist narrative. They need to be told, very firmly, where to get off. Graham
It will just be another disaster Gordon
There are too many exceptions made for Maori. We need to get rid of those, and definitely not add this one to the long list Hevin
Most definitely not. This will only lead to more harm and deaths. Terry
I don’t think they should get control but if they do then they should be held accountable. If the numbers don’t come down as they are suggesting, control should be rescinded Darag
No, but perhaps an investigation by iwi into their culture’s shocking child abuse statistics and the benefit of a victim mentality on the wellbeing of their people might be a good use of their time? Brian Giesbrecht’s column is the best thing I’ve read on this site. Erudite, frank and intelligent. Thank you for a fascinating read. Randy
what a stupid idea. Very bad for the children. Gerhard
No way.Maori are the worst offenders when it comes to child abuse and poverty .Add to that Maori crime and ‘our people’ as they call themselves have mostly proven that they cannot be trusted with responsibility let alone have the intelligence to do it. Don
No way, Says it all frank
Racism is not the answer to child abuse . Pete
Yes it is their problem let them deal with it and finance it David
We are look the same in the end Richard
Any thing handed to maori is is just a waste of taxpayer money . They are just looking at ways to fleece the tax payer. the only way to stop it is sterilization before puberty Colin
It is effectively, putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop. Steve
WHY ARE IWI NOT PROVIDING SUPPORT NOW? Typical stand before the fire saying warm me then I think about l putting some wood on. The kids need help get off your arse YOU are family aren’t you? Kelvin
They seem incapable of most management these days Graeme
Separatism again. one law one nation one people. Pete
Maori are the problem so shouldn’t be looking after their own. Pete
This is reversing one land one country. We all own it and Maori do not have any special governance than anyone else and this behaviour is causing significant rifts. Peter
This proposal just reeks of racism and separatism. Tell Maori leaders to get their act together and discourage the indiscriminate breeding by their young unmarried females as a career choice. Tony
No evidence to support separatism. Simply sounds like another rort to extort more millions from Kiwi taxpayers. Coral
No I do not. Until the real issues of child abuse are addressed, nothing will change. Colonialism is not an excuse for Child Abuse. The Blame is with the Offender. Generational Abuse must stop. The Cycle of Abuse must stop. Karrin
I say yes ONLY so Iwi can see and experience the real problem first hand. Iwi should also fund it them selves. My real answer will be NO, they’re not capable. Chris
No, it wouldn’t work. Jan
Absolutely NOT. All race based policies should be abandoned. Laurie
Most definitely not, this is segregation and racism. Linda
Your last paragraph sums it up well. Cliff
No way they have never been able to run anything in a business like manner Read the Canadian arrival it says it all Peter
I do not support any initiative that is racially based. We need to get rid of this coalition of losers who are destroying our beautiful country and elect a party that will govern responsibly and have the courage to stand up against the racial bullies. Mike
They have no idea. David
Money, money, money, gimme, gimme, gimme. Russell
I’m Maori and homocide statistics in NZ prove we do not always act in the best interests on our tamarikis DJ
Look at there record to date -self interest and control Sandy
The older I get the more I see is Money Money Money I am sorry to say very little consideration for the welfare & what is best for the child. Roydon
Definitely not. If Iwi are so concerned they can and should start making changes within their tribal groups of their own accord so that fewer children need have any involvement with child protection services. Margaret
Absolutely not, The at risk children have to come first. Babies must be removed from mothers who shouldn’t have had them in the first place. They need real care not race based rhetoric Sharon
This is just another ploy by Iwi to gain control of ALL aspects of New Zealand life. Maori having the highest rate of child abuse does not mean that Maori should run the child abuse system. Probably they are the least qualified. I repeat: It’s all about power. The Labour Party is all about stupidity. Joyce
Absolutely not. It’s a money grab, pure and simple. And as usual the money will be wasted and the children left worse off. Brenda
We have enough neglected , abused and killed children as it is why would it change by being run by iwi? Laurel
History has proven that Maori are incapable of dealing with this situation. I also believe that there are cases where assistance from specialised trained health and social services may benefit an outcome regarding young at risk Maori. However the call for Iwi to control/manage child care services would be the equivalent to adding fuel to the fire. Chris
No I do not support this concept. It seems that there is a lack of core parenting skills amongst some people and the issues that are responsible for that lack of skills are what need to be addressed. Peter
If iwi knew how to solve the problem, there would not be a problem. The culture of the problem parents needs to change. Mark
It is quite plain to see really, the majority of children taken are from maori families. To let maori take control of the issues would be like giving the fox a key to the henhouse. Ray
Because such a proposal is racist. John
Iwi Leaders will be just as frightening, arbitrary and corrupt as CYFS. Alan
Not under any circumstances Alan
Just another political stunt to show up how ineffective and innocuously weak kneed our politicians are – unable to govern! Stuart
HELL NO! Grant
It will make the situation worse not better. The contention that the whanau is the best custodian is a myth. Ted
Iwi have no control over their members already so how on earth are they going to run child protection services! Ron
That is sheer madness, child cruelty Edward
Never should those power drunk bastards be given a say about child protection services even fro their own kids. Anything Maori get their hands on usually is a total failure and Costs millions which ends up in the hands if the IWI elite Colin
I am like most of my friends sick of the separatism of our countrymen and women. Maori names maori everything, getting a bit much. Most of my Maori friends do not like it either, they just get on and do the same as the rest of us and work hard not expecting handouts and special treatment. We can all do well together. Barbara
NZ desperately needs a “Truth and Reconciliation” process to uncover and deal with past issues relating to State intervention in child care. NZ’s tragedies in this area affect people for generations. Dave
What a joke! Terry
Would they do the job?? Jen
What would New Zealanders who look like they have European ancestry be called if they advocated the same thing. DIRTY RACISTS Graeme
ridiculous David
A very scary idea. Paddy
Hell no-way. Would be great if we want our prisons to expand in the future! Simon
Nothing will change. It will only get worse as statistics in the future will find. Jan
Look at the record, handing responsibility to ‘indigenous’ organisations in the past has resulted in worse outcomes. Terry
It is an issue of ideologies so I cannot support an ideology that is based on tribalism and ancestors being influential in making daily decisions. I cannot support the view that only Maori can solve the present child abuse catastrophe. I see no hope for welfareism and spending more taxpayers money on making once religious and racial group the main social workers for our families and children. Ray
No racism !!!!!!!!! Maureen
Absolutely not! Child protection services MUST be run by officials completely independent from any tribal influence. What they are doing at present is disgraceful. Paul
No, no, no. Child protection is a dreadful job but it must be run by people who can be held fully accountable for their actions. Iwi groups should surely be doing all they can to support struggling families through the huge settlement money they have received. Barbara
Brian Giesbrecht’s article is brilliant. It should certainly be printed and sent to all of New Zealand’s decision-makers. They should be warned about the disaster that would occur if tribal groups controlled child protection services in this country. Daniel
If governments stopped paying single mothers to have children on their own, over time the underclass would diminish. Surely that must happen as a priority. And allowing groups that perpetrate child abuse to control abused children is a recipe for disaster  Chis
The best interest of the child must be the priority. ‘Race’ has no meaning these days and should play no part in the affairs of government.  Don