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Ed Sheeran

Māori process first stop before baby uplift

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The co-leader of Labour's Māori caucus says Oranga Tamariki may be justified in uplifting babies, but there needs to be greater attention paid to cultural considerations first.

There are three separate inquiries sparked by the attempted uplift of a week-old baby from Hawke's Bay, with Oranga Tamariki, the Children's Commissioner and the Chief Ombudsman all looking at aspects of the case.

Willie Jackson says from his experience working with the Manukau Urban Māori Authority was there were circumstances where the safety of the tamariki demanded it be removed form the immediate family.

He understands the emotion created by the current uplift process, but slogans like 'Not one more baby taken' are an extreme response.

"Obviously in the end if a baby is at risk the baby has to be removed but only after all our processes have been exhausted and we are part of that and the whānau is part of that. That is what we are saying and I think that is what anyone who is involved in this would say," Mr Jackson says.

He says there is a roll call of Māori children who might be alive today if they had been removed from abusive homes.


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