Children and young people will suffer from Govt’s sharp cuts at Oranga Tamariki

Tamariki, rangatahi, and whānau, will bear the brunt of the Government’s spending cuts at the agency charged with supporting children and young people at risk.

Oranga Tamariki today confirmed final decisions to axe 419 specialist jobs to meet Government demands for spending cuts.

Jobs are being lost across the country including those supporting residential and youth justice facilities, more than 60 in the Māori, Partnerships and Communities team, the legal team, and those helping to improve the agency.

“These cuts will make the lives of children and young people worse,” said Fleur Fitzsimons, Assistant Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

“It’s particularly disappointing that specialist Māori roles are still being removed as these people have unique skills working with whānau and are critical to the success of Oranga Tamariki.

“At a time of rising need and increasing pressure on families the last thing the Government should be doing is making deep cuts to the very agency that supports children and young people.

“We say to the dedicated public service workers at Oranga Tamariki, this is not about you or a reflection on your value or the contribution you have made to New Zealand, but about the Government’s heartless obsession with cutting spending to fund tax cuts.

“Today, we see the cost of those tax cuts and children and young people will pay that price. The Government is putting ideology ahead of the care of children.

“Today the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care has been delivered to the Governor General, the scene is set for child abuse to go unchecked all over again with these cuts.

“For the Government to claim today’s cuts are about more resources for the frontline at Oranga Tamariki is just wrong. The cuts affect jobs at the frontline and make life harder and workloads greater for social workers.

“These cuts will simply load more work on the shoulders of those remaining and that will not lead to the better outcomes the Government promises. No review of Oranga Tamariki has ever recommended cutting jobs to improve the care it provides; this is just wrong.

“This is a sad day for such a vital agency and the dedicated workers who support it.”

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