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Dr Muriel Newman

Time for a Change in Welfare Policy

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Last week the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, published their annual report card on child well-being across the countries of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They ranked New Zealand in 38th place out of the 41 nations.

To provide some perspective, UNICEF’s measures of child well-being are based on their UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. While in last year’s report they included Marxist notions of ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’, this year, they have incorporated their ‘Agenda for Sustainable Development’. As a result, child wellbeing assessments now include such things as climate change, the environment, and peace.

That a political agenda pervades the UN is evident in the UNICEF Report’s child poverty measure. It is defined in relative terms as 60 percent of the median household income.

Poverty, of course, was originally based on the human struggle for the basic necessities of life such as food and shelter. This is a reality in third world countries where abject poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on US$1.25 or less a day.

However, with the establishment of universal welfare safety nets leading to the disappearance of real ‘poverty’ in developed nations, advocates of income redistribution and progressive taxation have reinvented the measure as a relative term.

In essence relative poverty is a political construct based on a country’s income distribution. Under this measure, people are considered poor if they earn less than a benchmark based on the median wage. With Statistics NZ data showing that the median disposable household income for a Kiwi family of four was over $1,800 a week in 2015, UNICEF’s definition would mean that any such families with a weekly household income of $1,000 or less, would be categorised as living in poverty.

By defining poverty in relative terms, even if incomes were to double, the claim could still be made that New Zealand had a poverty problem because the same percentage of people would remain below the median income.

In fact, the only way to alleviate relative poverty is to equalise incomes. That means that under this measure, countries like North Korea and Cuba – where everyone is equally poor – would probably be defined as having less relative poverty than New Zealand!

In spite of UNICEF’s report card being highly political, it does nevertheless reveal areas where our Government’s policy settings are putting children at risk.

In particular, it has found that 16 percent of New Zealand children live in jobless households – the third highest in the developed world, with only Hungary and Ireland faring worse.

What this means is that our welfare system is failing to require able-bodied beneficiaries to find work. The consequences for those 180,000 children who live in benefit-led households can be devastating with sole parenthood and long term welfare dependency known to be two of the most serious risk factors for children.

The UNICEF report outlines just how dangerous such arrangements can be. New Zealand is ranked the seventh highest country for child murder – with 0.78 child murders per 100,000 children in 2010 – and we have the highest rate of teenage suicide in the developed world, with 15.6 deaths of 15-19 year olds per 100,000 population in 2010.

Provisional statistics released by the Coroner’s Office, shows that the situation is getting worse, with 51 (16.02 per 100,000) teenage deaths by suicide in 2016 and 52 (16.41 per 100,000) in 2015.

In comparison, Portugal had the lowest rate of teen suicide with 1.7 deaths per 100,000, with Italy and Spain close behind.

According to Youthline, each week two young New Zealanders aged 24 years and under take their own lives, with another 20 hospitalised for self-harm.

The potential for suicidal behaviour greatly increases for children living in dysfunctional families on welfare, with even greater risks for those who’ve been in the care of Child, Youth and Family.

In order to reduce these risks, the Government is undertaking a major revamp of child protection services, and is updating its Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. But what is alarming, when looking into these reforms, is the dominant role played by the Treaty of Waitangi and biculturalism.

When it comes to the country’s most vulnerable children, it appears that culture has precedence over safety.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Brian Giesbrecht, a retired Canadian Judge with over 30 years of experience in the provincial Court system, who observed firsthand how race-based policies destroyed child welfare services in Manitoba. Since New Zealand policy makers often look to Canada for guidance, his warning against prioritising race over child safety is timely:

“The majority of child welfare cases I heard as a judge involved aboriginal families. Typically, the parent or parents had serious drinking problems, and the agonizing choice facing the child welfare worker was whether to leave the child in a substandard or possibly dangerous situation and risk a tragedy — or take the serious step of removing the child from the home and risk damaging the bond between child and family. The child care workers appearing before me, some of whom were aboriginal, were excellent caring people, respectful of aboriginal culture and committed to doing what was in the best interests of the children they were sworn to protect.

“By the 1970s it was clear that there were far too many aboriginal children in care. The government desperately sought solutions. Aboriginal activists blamed the ‘culturally insensitive’ non-aboriginal child welfare system for causing the problem, and assured the government that if the existing workers and agencies were replaced with aboriginal workers and agencies the problem could be solved. The government recklessly accepted this specious reasoning on no evidence, and began gutting the existing system and replacing it with brand new untested agencies. Senior child care workers and supervisors were lost to the system and a child welfare system that had refined itself over many years was decimated.

“While that process was in its infancy, I conducted an inquiry into the death of an aboriginal boy named Lester Desjarlais, a 13-year-old member of Sandy Bay First Nations, who committed suicide in his foster home in Brandon while in the care of one of these new agencies. Unqualified workers and agency incompetence were major factors in his death. At the conclusion of that hearing I wrote a report strongly warning the government against proceeding further on the dangerous path it was following. Others gave warnings as well. Despite those warnings the government accelerated the transferring of responsibility for aboriginal children to these hastily created agencies. This transfer was done without safeguards ensuring that proper educational standards for workers be maintained, and without proper controls. The entire child welfare system, including what was left of the existing agencies, was degraded.

“Under an aboriginal child welfare system, the best interests test, namely the cardinal rule in child welfare that an agency must do what is in the best interests of the child was abandoned. Instead, racial identity was given primacy. Children were torn from loving homes and placed in substandard situations simply because the foster parents were not aboriginal. I refer to one notorious example in which an aboriginal girl was taken from a southern home where she had been loved and cared for all her life, and placed on a northern reserve where she was repeatedly raped and brutalized. This was racial politics at its worst, and it also was child abuse. The agency was abusing the very children it was sworn to protect.”

The situation in New Zealand is not too different.

Child, Youth and Family, the country’s current child protection service has a ‘whanau-first’ policy, whereby if a child is at risk of abuse or neglect and is to be taken from a dysfunctional home, the priority must be to place the child with “a person who is a member of the child’s or young person’s hapu or iwi, or, if that is not possible, who has the same tribal, racial, ethnic, or cultural background as the child.”

The problem is that such children suffer higher rates of repeated abuse than children placed in safe homes with unrelated caregivers: “29 percent of Maori children who were returned to their homes after being placed in CYF care were re-abused, compared to 17 percent of non Maori children. A further 11 percent were re-abused when permanently homed with the wider whanu, compared with two percent homed outside of the care of their wider family.”  

These higher rates of abuse suffered by Maori children at the hands of their wider family, led the Social Development Minister Anne Tolley to remove the ‘whanau first’ rule for the new child protection agency, proposing instead that placing children with a “safe, stable and loving family at the earliest opportunity” should be the priority: “The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children will be totally child-centred and everything it does must be completely focused on safety and the very best long-term outcomes for children and young people already in the care system, or who are at risk of needing care.”

However, this proposal to prioritise child safety over culture was strongly criticised by the Maori Party and Maori welfare providers, who do not want their bicultural Maori world view dominance of child protection services threatened – even though it is putting vulnerable children at risk of harm.

As a result of the ensuing controversy, the new Bill, which is still in front of Parliament, now contains a predominance of Treaty of Waitangi partnership requirements, the need for Maori providers to deliver services, special rights for Maori families, and cultural competency requirements for the department’s workforce.

Judging by the Manitoba example, it is this obsession with Maori culture that is underpinning New Zealand’s failure to keep vulnerable children safe.

It’s the same story with youth suicide.  

The Government’s suicide prevention strategy is based on a theory that the over-representation of Maori youth is due to ‘cultural alienation’.

As a result, the Treaty of Waitangi partnership concept dominates the strategy, as does the need for Maori providers to design and deliver services to youth at risk: “Maori to engage with their own culture, values and practices, and making services and programmes relevant to and effective for Maori.”

While culture features strongly in the strategy, there is little mention of family breakdown, even though overseas data suggests that children growing up without a father are more than twice as likely to commit suicide, than children with dads.

In a 2003 study published in The Lancet, Swedish researchers found “the risk of suicide was more than twice as high among children in one-parent households compared with those living with both parents. This conclusion came after first identifying some 65,000 children of single-parent homes and 920,000 living with both parents beginning in the mid-1980s, and examining their death rates and hospital admissions throughout the 1990s.”

In fact, although it is no longer politically correct to say so, the reality is that most of the social ills faced by vulnerable children – including child abuse and teenage suicide – relate to a lack of fathers in their homes.

Children from fatherless families are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, be victims of child abuse, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.

What’s worse is that no politicians are highlighting these issues. No-one is raising the alarm that one of the main contributors to the serious disadvantage faced by Kiwi children is a welfare system that rips apart families, leaving children vulnerable to serious harm – and even death.

Reforming welfare to remove the incentives that breaks up families should be one of the country’s main policy priorities. It would save children’s lives and substantially reduce the number of families trapped in the hopelessness of long-term intergenerational welfare dysfunction.


Should Maori cultural considerations play a dominant role in New Zealand’s new child protection service? 


*Poll comments are posted below.


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

Click to view x 120


Maori culture should never dominate anything to do with the upbriinging of children as that child is deprived of a future and grow up a rounded citizen with a good education and leed a normal healthy life free from abuse menterly and sexuly. The Maori way of life is the pits brake free or Maori are doomed. Ken
The govt. is promoting racial disharmony. Allan
If we make considerations for one race we have to make it for them all. If Maoris want considerations there are other bodies which should make thse. Peter
Let’s put this way: Less than 200 years ago, maori were cannibals. They were savages, & they have not had time to evolve. Mind you, the gummint hasn’t helped with it’ social engineering legislation, e.g. DPB. David
NO,NO,NO, The Maori culture is the reason for all the problems in NZ, they are still trying to live in the past, tribalism is the main problem. Athol
As we all know, Take out the maori stats and all of a sudden we’re at the top of the group not in 38th place. maori culture has a lot to answer for, it is negative, divisive and certainly not a culture to be proud of, get rid of the racist waitangi tribunal and all other race based institutions along with the half witted Susan Devoid. It is way past time maori took ownership of their many problems, way past time the maori elite started using some of the billions of tax payer gifted money to do something other than blaming Whitey for their obvious failings. Stevo
Never all equal. Clark
Bicultural policies are tearing our country apart, rather than uniting us. We are fast following South Africa down a slippery slope. Will any government have the political nerve to turn this around – or is it too late already? Iwi corporations, for example, do not pay their share of company tax because of their privileged charitable status. Laurence
One people all are NZers Barry
what. more dead and abused kids. Dona
Maori parents are the reason why their children are in poverty – because they want them to grow up to be drug and alcohol ridden violent criminals – just like mum (and dad, if any). Maori have far too many children, trusting that the taxpayer will bring them up. There is no sense of responsible and no ethics at all – except what benefits me is good. To be properly educated and brought up, maori children need to be taken away from such inadequate parents. Yet they insist that only maori be involved. this is not only racist but definitely not in the interest of the children who may be young enough to be saved from a horrible life of crime and poverty. Despite their protestations – just racism – these maori parents just don’t really care about their kids – shameful! u
When will we admit the maori just deny the fact they are the cause of most of the problems. Lance
There is an urgent need to drain the Maori Swamp in this country. The Maori party is happy to use Maori children as collateral in their bicultural war against this country. They are despicable and need to be voted out of parliament forever. Hope Anne Tolley stands up to this racist nonsense. Monica
All racist actions & laws should be scrapped. We don’t need more! Jon
The commentaries say it all in favour of a NO vote Russell
The instigators and politics of these policies should be identified this policy is stealthy racisim. Who approves these? Rex
Maori are only a small percentage of the population of New Zealand ? So why should the rest of New Zealanders be subjected to tribal voodooism. Wayne
The results of such racist policies speak for themselves. Michael
It’s been western culture that has predominantly enhanced the health & wellbeing of children. Fiona
The safety of the chlld is paramount. I have worked in this area for years and I firmly believe it is about placing a child where they are safe! Not with extended family to appease adults. Vivien
This is an awkward one….I have always believed and stood by that “Charity begins at Home” however with the continual pressure from our Maori Race (that seems to of decided that New Zealand is for New Zealanders” and their continued belief that 15% of them are a cut above and want to dominate this Country for THEMSELVES they seem to of forgotten that if it was NOT for those of out forebears and what we have done over the past many years they may not of survived in fact possibly of died out. They ate the Race that was here well almost as there are still some descendants I understand. If they want to be so vindictive we should STOP giving them what they believe is their RIGHT (e.g. all this land and money compensation payments, and look after their KIN without still taking use of the Kiwi Drs, Hospitals . Welfare. etc etc for FREE or as good as as of their rights . It is getting quite common now to see we Kiwis being pushed aside and in the back line for many of the things we have paid for by Hard Work, taxes etc . About time they had to look after their own families without continued handouts as of right. (There are a number out there that are disgusted and ashamed at what said lot are doing to our Country.) Enough is enough stop giving time to put an end to this nonsense. MARYLIN
It should be about three things: 1 child safety 2 child safety and 3 child safety. Kevin
Definitely not. What about the cultural considerations of “non Maori”? The entire concept of setting up a child protection service along what can only be described as racist lines, is undemocratic and unacceptable. New Zealand is a multi-cultural country and it’s well past time that our blinkered “leaders” developed colour blindness and stopped promoting this bi-cultural nonsense at every opportunity. Martin
Definitely not. John
What about ‘cultural considerations’ of non-Maori? Peter
The evidence would clearly say that we should not. Robert
There is no ‘partnership’, there was a ceding to the Crown. Children must go to the most suitable place irrespective of race and maori claim to have ‘superior’ methods of dealing with those at risk. Maori bullshit. Paul
The best possible safety and future opportunities for personal development for the child must be paramount, not more of the same abuse and moronic tribal mindset. David
As soon as the Treaty of Waitangi enters the discussion, common sense goes out the window. Irvine
What is Maori Culture??? Aggression by both sexes and cannibalism. Occupation of land by conquest.no idea of ownership until the surveyors arrived Come on what is this all about?? SEPARATISM in its most invidious form.. John
All should be equal. Norm
Pretty obvious n’est pas? Levonne
I really think that being Maori should be more defined. Is it 50% Maori/white or can it be as low as 1\ 64th. Where does it start and stop. Overall the dividing strategy must be eliminated. Murray
Child protection services should be based on need and not on race. However, given the Maori reputation for endemic child abuse, I can see where that can be a major focus for the service. Tony
No way. The bias to all things Maori has gone too far, it has to stop. There is ample evidence the bias simply does not work and in fact is openly abused. David
Follow the money. Alan
If they were from the Planet Zog, well yes. It would appear that Polynesian Maori are predisposed to blaming other cultures for their own inability to not be violent to their own children. David
Absolutely not! We should be all One People. known as, NEW ZEALANDER’S – KIWI’S.. No race, children or adults, should be favoured. John
Any such attempts have not worked so far why would anyone think they would by adding more now? Laurel
We are now all one people still stands and our queen is still our Queen. Theodorus
It is obviously not working therefore change is urgently needed. Pavithra
Equality is what matters. Kim
Only an uneducated idiot would go down that track. Sue
Obvious from the article. Ian
The welfare of the child should be the only criterion. Ron
None at all. Gerhard
During 37 years of front line policing, I saw children who could not be looked after, for various reasons, from maori mothers passed around like a bad penny to Auntys, Grandmothers sisters and other family members., Till the children had no idea who they were or what they were supposed to be. In many of these familes they experienced the same problems they had originally faced. Culture, colour, race has nothing to do with it. Building character stability, sense of belonging , being loved and cared for should be the criterior. for judging who looks after them. Dener
No culture should be allowed to dominate another. Gerard
Most definitely not. Alan
Should play no role. Michael
No! I feel that we are supposed to be one country, one people let us strive for this ideal. All are equal. Fraser
When will the Govt realise that the more they pander to the maoris with endless payouts the worse the maori become.they will be totally dependant on welfare instead of standing on there own feet to progress in life. But maybe that is what the Govt wants. David
What is best for the child should absolutely come first. Culture should play no part in it what so ever. Brenda
This would mean that segregation would start with children. Surely we have advanced enough as one people, to have a common set of standards for our children. George
No way child protection is a job for dad, mum and aunty and not a loony gave service. James
Wonder when this crap will ever end. John
Only if IWI elite do not keep or use the resources for their own purpose. David
Maori race based care is a myth. Jeff
No no no Mike
There are many other – white/red/yellow/brown children who are at risk – not just Maori [all-be-it they are in the majority] – who need protected. Same old story – We are ALL NZers – and other races’ cultural needs have always been met. Elayne
Muriel, while you are quite right in saying that none of the leaders of the main political parties are saying anything about the link between the the social welfare system we now have, and the family and youth problems; – Leighton Baker the new Conservitive Party leader is certainly making the link and wants to do somemthing about it. Ted
Culture shouldn’t come into it. It’s’mainly lack of fathers that lead to child abuse. And the generous welfare system makes this more likely. Sheila
We should not let a minority group dictate how a service effecting the entire country George
One rule for everyone. No exceptions. Live in NZ as a Kiwi or feck off…that includes maori immigrants. Mark
Why is it that anything comes up into days world it has to feture Maori I am totaly sick of the poor Maori me when are they going to get out of there self pitty and act like NZs this last 40odd years has had the biggest pack fof moaners ever sppose the other side of the coin if the Govt give in why not take all you can get Russell
Every kiwi needs to have an equal voice in this mess not just those who are causing the problem to a large extent. Rob
By bringing cultural precedence into consideration when passing legislation is inciting apartheid into a supposedly democratic country. We are one people- one country where different cultures can be acknowledged but not at the expense of other cultures. our histories need to be recognised but not used as a tool to segregate our nationalities. WE ARE ONE PEOPLE-ONE COUNTRY Robert
Maori culture means that taking an abused child from one family member and giving the child to snother family member keeps the child in the abusive situation. the child needs to be kept out! Kath
Sending abused Maori children back to their culture is giving them back to the very people who abused them in the beginning…if they had been well cared for by their family members they would not feature so highly in the welfare statistics… Yvonne
Where on earth is this now multi-cultral country heading? English should follow his just resigned party member’s lead. This is insulting!! Denis
The government’s and the PC brigade’s pandering to all thing Maori is taking this country backward at an ever increasing rate of knots. It looks like Winston (with all his faults) is the only one who recognises this. Murray
NZ is to frightened to offend and defend the indefensible. Frightened that someone or group might upset the applecart re Maori rights and they know best. Frank
Lives saved is more important. Gary
Positively no and when it comes to child welfare and protection, Maori have a disgraceful record. As the learned Judge said, culture has no place in child protection. Don
Ample evidence that shows this is not the right answer. The Canadian aboriginal experience being a good example. Owen
Keep the Maoris out of it. They have fucked up enough things already. Graham
This smacks of social engineering to me, and on that ground alone I strongly oppose any such policy initiative. All NZ children are, or should be, of equal status when it comes to taxpayer funded state protection. Andrew
Absolutely not. The whole concept is a disgrace and few Maori initiatives actually work. Not surprisingly as they are based on a culture that is stone-age in developmental terms. David
There are more important things for children to learn. Perhaps later on in their teenage years if they wish they can voluntary learn Maori culture. Graeme
All of society should be treated the same. If there are benefits to be had. All should share in that knowledge. Any behavioral harms should be eliminated, similarly. I see only harms resulting from treating Maori as different. Look at their’ track ‘record. Harvey
The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi did NOT give maori partnership-national is doing that they give maori everything but NOT other kiwi’s. Cindy
There should only be one culture in N.Z. All children of N.Z. need the protection service equally. Ngaire
If a child is being abused at home take him out of the home put him somewhere he or she will be loved and nurtured exceedingly well Under no circumstances should a child be returned to a toxic home especially if it is a Maori one. Maori cultural concerns should tossed into the rubbish bin. Colin
Children should be placed in a secure safe and loving enviroment. Skin colour or culture should play no part in it. Dennis
None at all … look at the way they bring their kids up . They give their kids away, teach them how to commit crime (from their own experience, in many cases they have actually killed them, and the latest figures show that maoris have only about a 52% attandence rate at school. Should they have any role in child protection …. sounds like a sick joke. Des
The creeping spread of Maori ‘culture’within NZ society is becoming increasingly evident. This is the last thing we need; further, we must stop our politicians, from being the primary agents – outside of Maoridom itself -responsible for allowing and even fostering the failed notion the country needs more and more Maori culture. Non-Maori are constantly being force-fed with this nonsense. Maori are masters at playing the race-card in a way that merges extremely well with political correctness, in our loud and compliant and easily hoodwinked populace. Frank
Safety of the child must be paramount. Whilst sensitivity to their cultural background must have a part to play in their future, their right to survive and mature into productive citizens of NZ must be the prime concern. Michael
I mean look how well that has done for Kiwi Kids so far. Once again a small bunch of screaming Maori radicals has hi-jacked legislation. Ifyou think our gutless politicians are going to change this, don’t hold your breath. Until New Zealand has binding referendum to pull all these agenda driven loonies up, New Zealand society will continue to go down the gurgler. Ronmac
Time to stop this pandering to minority interests. If their principles achieved successful outcomes it may be a different story. John
All NZ citizens should be treated equally. John
Traditional marriage has been degraded. John
All New Zealanders’ should be treated equally. Leon
I am sick to death of Maori Culture being prioritised in every sphere of gummint. To me, Maori “culture” is the primitive, savage, stone-age worship of violence spear-headed, literally, by the haka. This incitement to violence by a grotesque, grimacing bunch of generally overweight savages is an ugly total embarrassment. Sure, there are other aspects like poi-dancing and basket-weaving but, let’s get real and see it for what it really is – an interesting study into the history of a primitive culture with inter-tribal violence at its very core. Hardly something to be “celebrated” by a modern nation of the 21st century. It has no place whatever in any aspect of child welfare. Aunty Podes
Just not be based on race Alan
Generally throughout history, maori have featured very high in statistics where children’s health and welfare is very poor. Maori have never been able to improve those statistics; why would they start now! Darryl
With such a record – definitely NO. Ron
Bollocks!! First of all this UN outfit is known to conjure up all sorts of fabricated reports to drive their own agendas. These pseudo socialists , earning very substantial salaries , erect such guidelines and theoretical benchmarks ie calling a family with 1000 Dollars a week!!! income poor. Surely — only wealthy people think this as being poor because they themself cannot imagine to get by with 1000 Dollars a week. And here in NZ the PC ridden do gooders love to jump at these ‘opportunities’—This whole ‘child poverty’ agenda is nothing but a scheme to justify the establishment of yet another ‘social’ department ( even with a minister for child poverty!!!) with no other function but to earn their ’employees’ and other hangers on a fat salary by creating out of thin air one rule and regulation after the other which at the end of the day produces nothing tangible at all!! This lot – in my opinion -are in it only for looking after their own personal gain.We have to rid ourselfes of these bottom feeders and put hard earned tax dollars where they are really needed.. And besides –it is all too well known where or whose children are in real trouble.So I ask why is it that the ‘ so called’ tribal elite is not parting with some millions of the billions of Dollars of claims money to help their own?? ANSWER.: Because they could not care less and are using their own as a political weapon to put blame for social problems among the general Maori population on the rest of us. Michael
If you want Stone age out comes then put stone age laws in the legislation. We are now in the 21st century and should be looking forward. John
Certainly not .”We are all now one people” Stop racist political decisions. David
NZ is a nation of mixed-ethnicity citizens, Most, if not all, 21st century ‘Maori’ have Maori and European ancestry, and increasingly some have Pacific Island and Asian ancestry. Te Ha in 2019 should be the time to declare all residents / citizens as NZers and stop applying inaccurate and discriminatory racial labels. Aesha
Speaks for itself when reading the report. Political correctness often prevents the obvious truth being published. Peter
Oh when are we going to accept that ALL people should be treated equally. Why oh way to we continually cow tau to one section of our diverse population. Graeme
Disastrous ethnic tribalism. Children need love and it matters not from whom that comes from so long as its genuine, caring and freely given. Robert
There are far too many sub-standard citizens being fed from the public trough. Stop bringing in any more, and make those already living here work for their existence. Disastrous collapse is the ultimate destination of a society that gives precedence to those who won’t work over those who will. TONY
This question has 2 parts really. Yes, I agree Maori children should be relocated to a Maori family, IF that family is really suitable to care fully for the child. Not just pass the child to any Maori family. The second part, general Maori cultural considerations should not be any part of Social Welfare governing. We are NOT a Maori culture, only a tiny minority of Maori really embrace that historical connection. We are a Western society, and to succeed in this one needs to be raised with matching views and behaviour! Hugh
Maori parents should protect and control their own and teach their own culture without including NZ’s population who will have cultures of their own which are not in general respected. The child protection service should be able to help all children regardless of race, colour or creed. Elizabeth
Most maori desent people I know know very little about their own culture but follow the activists like sheep. Lorraine
Maori have proved that too many of them are irresponsible. Tom
The statistics show a Maori cultural policy has not and will not work. People who adopt/take in vulnerable children, rather than whanau etc, are usually of the highest integrity etc. Paul
Absolutely NOT!!!! This is like asking the wolf to protect the lambs. Sadly children are not part of maori treasures – they are objects for abuse and murder. Maori are the last people who should be allowed to decide how to protect children; all they are interested in is protecting the adult offenders. Michelle
They should be considered but must not be the dominating factor. Terry
This obsession with Maori culture over common sense, is the very reason why Maori children under-achieve in almost every area, compared to other cultures in New Zealand. Marshall
Very obviously, from all the tragic evidence, NO. Gordon
The statistics of child abuse prove that a loving, caring home, with no connections to the Treaty of Waitangi or biculturalism, is by far the best place for these children. Ernest
All cultural considerations need to be taken into account and not those of one society alone. Jim
No. Maori attitudes should have no role in child protection because “culture” has no place in an untainted culture-free child protection service. Maori racism must be rejected on every front. John
NO ! This problem has developed over a long term and there are no quick fixes. The general cause is the welfare state and a dominant state education system. The long term answer then is to…………..well, you all know the answer – some healthy disruption is desperately needed. Don
The answer is of course NO, but is there any hope that either of the major parties will stop the present system of culture first before safety either in the prevention of child abuse or of suicides? It would be an interesting statistic to see the New Zealand figures quoted by UNICEF relate in our world standing without the inclusion of Maori ones. A complete breakdown into various groups should also be available. Surely the Government must know what the individual ethnic figures are, otherwise they would not be responding with so much to the Iwi demands for more welfare. The handing out weekly of welfare in the form of cash without any possible idea of just how this is being spent is ridiculous; it is obvious in many cases that this money is NOT being spent on essentials for the families especially when we see the figures in Muriel%u2019s article. It should be replaced by a system of non transferable welfare vouchers but as usual this will be domed by both parties naming it as degrading. An act of typical political hypocrisy, in order to seem humanitarian!  Brian
The solution? Get rid of the Nats, the ToW, stop making Maori Ugly Culture so bloody important, stop the Partnership racket (there was never a partnership) get rid of the Maori Party who have National over a barrel to support their legislation. Our only hope for change appears to be the NZ First party. This diatribe comes from an EX Nat supporter, who has had enough of the rascist National has encouraged! Carolyn
Should be no racial considerations in child welfare, all are children should be equal. Ian
The only culture the maoris have is having there hand out for money and control of the spineless nat party, child protection is not in the maori culture as Im sure decent people havent forgotten the twins and that beatuful little girl who was strung on a cloths line etc and what ever rules are brought in the maori deviants will carry on destroying young lives. Richard
Maori culture should be removed as a concept from all NZ laws. This bicultural notion is crap. NZ is a society derived from many cultures being moulded in time into our own kiwi culture speaking kiwi english. We’re not and never will be (unless the Chinese take over) bilingual. In spite of the millions being squandered on te reo and the extremely annoying token te reoism on our broadcasting services it will never be more than a marginal language spoken occasionally by a very small percentage of our population! Alan
It is not just in the very important neglect sphere that cultural mumbo jumbo should be ignored. Marine, planning, Council representation and the list goes on, are all areas where the obsolete treaty are having negative effects on New Zealand. Maori seem to think others should correct Maori failings, Maori attitudes to learning, Maori demands for higher incomes – perhaps Maori should just ensure they get out of bed, get educated, take responsibility for their own progress in our society. those Maori families who have moved beyond the “cultural” barrier are succeeding in the world and are earning their fair share of income wherever they live. I guess Maori failings are much of the cause of high Maori youth suicide rates and these are things maori can improve without legal restriction and help. Alastair
It is time that this “treaty” crap was brought to a close and we as one people can address our internal problems without racial bias. Noel
Let’s face it, this situation has been going on for years, just getting worse as the gutless self absorbed politicians loose their balls on anything that SMACKS of being Maori. Graeme
Although I have answered “no” I think that the question is ill defined. In my view, the salient issue should be “to what degree should Maori cultural considerations play a role in New Zealand’s new child protection service?” Were the question to be asked that way, a wider range of views would be given. Given that Maori are a minority in New Zealand and variously reported to comprise around 16% of the total population, surely it would be quite wrong for non-Maori children to be “managed” under a policy where Maori cultural considerations take primacy. Equally, I suggest for example, that it would unwise to place a child from a Muslim religious background with non-Muslim caregivers. Perhaps a more commonsense approach should prevail and precedence be given to placing children with caregivers from culturally similar backgrounds. Is it not true that the real issue here is more appropriate screening of caregivers in the first instance? This issue is of such major significance that more considered and in depth debate is paramount rather than a simple yes or no answer. Peter
Race should have absolutely no part in the assessment of what is best for a child. From my observations, the maori culture is not child friendly. Alan
All should be equal. David
Racist. Greg
One Country one people. According to history Maori were not the first settlers in New Zealand ? !!! Ian
DEFINITELY NOT. The advocates of this are following liberal Marxism which is the very same as political correctness which we are all being duped by daily! Joe
DEFINITELY NOT. Each child should given a solution for the best possible outcome. All children are created equal and need love and support. Race has no place in these decisions. Sue
I believe less emphasis on Maori cultural considerations would eventually lead to a better outcome for any of the New Zealanders who came to have some remnant trace of Maori ancestory! Cyril
Cultural considerations do not appear to assist children to better living conditions or a better life. Ross
Such a situation obviously does not work. Read Alan Duffs book Maori the Crisis and the Challenge. Arthur
Definitely no! Welfare should be brief -to help out when sudden events occur. There should be a definite period only. Never long term as it encourages dependancy. Liz
It only makes it worse. Colin
Not a dominat Role! Child’s health and safety first than culture. JC
Why would you listen to the part Maori, what proof have they got that Maori culture will improve anything . Their own statistics of massive failure at everything certainly don’t qualify them to make recommendations unless it is on how not to do it . Jock
Cultural Marxism (Maori Culture) is destroying our country. Tom
All must be equal. John
The time to stop pandering to a noisy greedy minority is here surely after all these non productive years and bleating about how the Maori Way and access to resources with unaccountable distibution is so necessary for the rest of us to fund instead of Maori sorting and funding their issues themselves by stopping having children they cant afford and caring for those they do have by the much lauded and overall ineffective whanau. Phil
Sick of seeing “extras” for Maori. Kevin
Child first, culture second. Peter
No. There has been far too much of the tail wagging the dog under National as it is. Bruce
Not if its at the expense of the safety, welfare and ultimate consideration of the wellbeing of any child. Cultural teachings can be at any age, but those initial years each child must feel safe and cared for.I believe that the abuse of P or Ice contributes to bad parenting or abuse so many fronts need to be dealt with but feel that Maori just do not want to take advice or assistance from Pakehana with the feeling that Maori knows better, but how is that working for them? Audrey
What about the 4 million dollar fund announced by Te Ururoa Flavell to help young Maori to get driver Licences Birth Certificates and Passports. Bruce
What’s safest for the child. Andrew
Should our “smart” government take note of the Canadian experience, all the research and reports and the advise of world experts on child protection policy? Or will they take the ill advised, PC, approach ethnic the pressure that keeps them in POWER. The New Zealand Government is SICK and needs to be doctored out of political correctness. Beware the UN and it’s continuing deception! Donald can see it, so why is the rest of the world burying their heads up to their arses? Neil
Children’s needs must be paramount and supercede everything else. Barbara
Unfortunately, the quasi-religion of “Maoridom” will continue to sweep reason aside, because our politicians are too weak and craven to stand up to it. They may pay lip service to respecting the welfare of the child, but in reality it’s the self-interest of the racist, Maori adults that will prevail. I suspect that the tipping point has passed, so that the rot in the social fabric of this country will continue, until New Zealand becomes just another Pacific banana republic. Graham
Amazing. Sometimes one can not save people from themselves. This a classic example. Neville
Maori so called culture, is the cause of all the short comings in child protection , and cause of all the expense that goes into child protection. Roy
They are simply one component of the total problem. Try getting to the root cause of a problem instead of fart arsing around with the end results!!! Kelvin
If two caring parents and LOVE are not the incredience then what place has race got to play? Maurice
Absolutely not! What is wrong with our lawmakers that they cant see this. Not just in child welfare but across the board. National will not get my vote this year. Elizabeth
The should be no Maori cultural playing a dominant role NZ new child protection services. Maori have high crime rates in this country and don’t look after their children very well in todays world. Why dose Maori have to have this dominant role in our Government Politics and welfare. Robert
I don’t think it is Maori culture that really damages the children, I think it is just really bad people. Chris
It is racist and nonsense to prioritise ethnicity each child should be in a place of safety where they are valued and enabled to become contributing members of our communities. Sue
Once again you/we want to have separate policies for Maori and others. This has to stop. We are one except for our skin. We all bleed red. Equality will never come through separatism. Brian
When will people learn that when someone is given something for nothing it has no value – nothing is learned except they then want more – and more – and more. Stuart
DEFINITELY not. I just wish the maori would look after their young with as much passion as they look after their dead. Brian
Of course they shouldn’t but the problem is, that the racist/Liberal politicians in power in NZ, have ensured that they do. John
14% of the Population, 50% of the Incarceration, numbers, doesnt that statistic alone indicate that, a brutal, heathen, stone age culture has no viable part in any modern civilized administration and the intention to use a backward culture to indoctrinate a modern generation of vulnerable youth , a form of “dumbing down”, cannot be justified, certainly not endorsed. Amazing that so called professionals would back this stupidity until you look closely at the wider reference to Sustainable Communities and see it is not New Zealand values but third world socialist values being used as the criteria. Let us not be hoodwinked by the United Nations badge this policy is completely out of context with the real needs of Young New Zealanders, (unless of course the intention were to groom young socialist voters). Richard
I have a boss who alleges she is 1/16th Maori. She is apparently disadvantaged, notwithstanding she earns a substantial salary, owns multiple rental properties and horticultural businesses. She is insistent that everything is whanau-based, but milks the government for funding to provide “community development services” Not to say that she’s a hypocrite, but both she and her husband drive 4.0 litre vehicles emblazoned with “No deep sea oil drilling” stickers, and if she’s Maori, then she’s a bloody sight whiter than me… She appears to be profiting from this “social entrepreneurial” method of scoring income, and yet she accuses me of being racist. I have minimal income, pay massive rent, and have no assets, yet I work my arse off for this outfit. When I explain my situation to her, she advises me to seek assistance from WINZ. Farcical. Andy
Too much emphasis on Maori culture – doesn’t appear to be helping so far – causing irritation to people who are not Maori. We should just get on with being New Zealanders. Moyra
Child safety has to come first. Mark
Culture is seems to be the big excuse for for what really is incompetency coupled with a lack of research. And dare I say it: self interest. Ido
Agree with all current posted comments! Rick
Absolutely not! As the Judge discussed in the case of Canada, child protection should be colourblind.  Denise
No – all this cultural garbage has no place in our laws. And that includes biculturalism. It should all be turfed out. Andrew
The politicisation of child protection is the reason why the service has struggled. Take out all references to culture and things might improve. Brendon
The incentives are all wrong – if Maori tribes encourage dysfunction to flourish, they make huge amounts of money by picking up the pieces through contracts. this is extremely dangerous. Providers should not be related to the clients. Roger
As Judge Giesbrecht has said, culture has no place in  child protection services – it must be all about safety. Jack