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Ed Sheeran

Opinion: New Oranga Tamariki Footage and censorship a shock - Jacinda must step in now
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Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury: Explosive new Oranga Tamariki footage was released on Newsroom late last week and before the weekend, Oranga Tamariki had a Judge censor the footage and have had the story removed on the grounds that it identified the 4 Māori children at the centre of the latest uplift controversy.

While the identities of the 4 children must always be kept hidden, Newsroom argues vehemently that the identities WERE hidden and I can attest that after watching the footage before it was removed, their identities were kept hidden throughout the documentary so if one were cynical, one could suggest that once again, Oranga Tamariki are trying to use safeguards for children to actually protect Oranga Tamariki's reputation.

Newsroom are challenging censorship.

What this latest deplorable case shows us is a neoliberal experiment now politically panicking.

Oranga Tamariki are feeling so much pressure for the casual manner in which they uplift Māori children that they are now second-guessing and reviewing all recent uplift placements.

In this latest case, 4 Māori children had been told by Oranga Tamariki that the white elderly family they were being foster parented by was a permanent placement and the white elderly couple bought a larger house and started looking after and bonding with these children.

That bonding occurred for 2 years!

Then, as Oranga Tamariki started facing immense criticism over their uplift of Māori infants from mothers right after giving birth, they reviewed all recent placements and came up with a u-turn process they thought would pacify critics and so the decision was made to uplift these 4 Māori children back into a Māori family they didn't know based on the argument that the elderly white couple were 'too white' to look after the 4 Māori children.

My guess is that this is about to trigger a backlash that will make the Orewa Speech look well reasoned.

The fundamental problem is that the philosophical values on which Oranga Tamariki were built upon are deeply flawed.

The argument was that using big data algorithms, MSD could predict long term downstream costs to the State, and those large downstream costs justified uplifting children from harm as quickly as possible.

To enable that, parental rights over their own children were legally watered down to allow Court action without a parent present. Parents weren't eligible for legal aid if they did have their children uplifted and the only check and balance to these exceptional powers was the Children's Commissioner who has written two damning reports on the counterproductive monster Oranga Tamariki has mutated into.

Let's be clear, no more Māori babies or children should be uplifted to anyone other than a Māori organisation, but in cases where placement have already occurred and children told that it's a permanent placement, a far more nuanced approach needs to be taken in regards to the welfare of those children and the blunt uplift mechanism is not one of them!

At this stage, Jacinda must step in and show real leadership. If we are printing $100billion to allow property speculators to price entire generations out of homeownership, Jacinda can throw a spare billion directly at Oranga Tamariki for an emergency intervention.

1 - No more use of big data to predict which child gets uplifted.

2 - Any uplift of a Māori child needs to see the child go to local Iwi who are fully funded for such care with a view for whanau ora to provide wrap-around one-stop services with the family to help get those children back safely.

3 - That those very same Iwi services are available for pakeha children being uplifted as well, because a Pakeha child uplifted to a Tikanga Māori welfare agency has far more chance of succeeding than a Pakeha child left to the cruel bluntness of neoliberalism as a social policy.

4 - All Māori child placements that have occurred with white families where the children have been told it is permanent should work towards a reintegration plan with Māori family, but that should be a shared custody and agreed process with all parties.

5 - The Government has an urgent emergency meeting with Maoridom to work out a new system because Oranga Tamariki is a broken model that causes more harm than good.

It breaks my heart that vulnerable children should be victimised by bureaucratic political panic. We are failing our children right now at a time when there is a Royal Commission into the historic abuse of children by the state, can no one see the irony of holding our past abuses of the State to account while perpertating them again in the present?

Our grandfathers bleed and died on foreign shores to stop a State having the kind of power over the individual that Oranga Tamarki wields with such ruthlessness.

What is the point of Jacinda's kindness if it can't stop suffering?


Martyn Bradbury

Editor -

Radio Waatea and it's board would like to advise that the opinions posted are those of Martyn 'Bomber Bradbury' and not the views of Radio Waatea, it's Management or it's Board.

Copyright © 2020, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:


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