Pōwhiri welcomes new advocates to Mana Mokopuna, the new Children and Young People’s Commission

Six children’s commissioners were welcomed to Mana Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission in a pōwhiri led by Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awakairangi at Waiwhetū Marae in Lower Hutt on Thursday.

The event formally acknowledged the new commission established on July 1 to ensure the voices of children and young people are heard, and their rights upheld, with greater and more diverse representation at the table, while recognising the work of former children’s commissioners.

As we see a spike in the broken Children of New Zealand thrown into the underfunded hell hole of youth detention and state ‘care’, the latest masquerade of accountability is rolled out with a lovely powhiri.

I personally am sickened by the brown washing of these agencies, it’;s a white wash to gloss over what they really are, the State’s attempt at ensuring they are never held to account.

The true lesson the State took from the Royal Commission into historic state abuse of children is to en sure no one can investigate them and pout them in the hook for the underfunded hell hole these kids are dumped into.

There is an unspoken neoliberal political agreement in NZ, that those administering the poorly funded State ‘care’ are never held accountable by the law when abuse occurs and in turn the Political class who refuse to tax the rich to afford proper care in the first place won’t prosecute the Bureaucrats when abuse occurs.

One hand protecting the other from ever being held accountable for the damage the underfunded State care causes.

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As some of you may be aware, I spent part of last year locked in a private battle with the Bureaucratic Gods of Wellington for repeatedly posting blogs that pointed out the dark tactics the State were prepared to go to undermine State abuse victims.

My point was that we have ample evidence of these behemoth Ministry’s with enormous power hiding and minimising their culpability for abuse and in the year we held a Royal Inquiry into historic State abuse, that removing the Children’s Commissioner oversight on Oranga Tamariki was obscene self interest.

The State doesn’t want a truly independent voice investigating abuse in State care and rather than extend the Children’s Commissioner oversight, they bundled it away into the bloody Education Review Office, because you know, nothing says laser like investigations and resourcing like the Education Review Office right?

They didn’t manage to notice students were being sexually abused at Dilworth for 3 decades, but hey who is counting?

This new faceless watchdog is responsible for box ticking stats, not whether or not the children are being abused!

The Children’s Commissioner was ended by the State and morphed into this new Children and Young People’s Commission because they kept holding very powerful people to account. This new version is watered down and merely an amplifier for the supposed voices of the children inside the system, which while admirable (and ideally should actually be in the Youth Ministry) is not the guard dog of children’s rights that it is being sold as.

Replacing the arse kicking Children’s Commissioner with all the powers of independent investigation it had with the voices of children who have suffered abuse isn’t a guard dog, it’s an emotional support Labrador.

Which is exactly what the State wants, the pretence of accountability with none of the legal threat.

Oranga Tamariki is a neoliberal experiment in welfare, the game is to only provide resource to the worst cases instead of universal provision of welfare. National who created this Frankenstein experiment, are pushing the ‘Social Investment’ model which is really just a means to privatise and slash welfare costs.

Now that this system is horrifically without any real oversight, the true damage can begin.

This has been pushed by the State to ensure they are not responsible for the carnage this new system will cause the next generation of children in State care.

But yay, a lovely powhiri.

The most obscene part of all of this, is that none of this is ever explained to the voting public.


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