1 Dec 2016

CYF restructure may 'breach Treaty'

9:27 am on 1 December 2016

One of the country's most prominent Māori groups is urging the government to halt its radical restructuring of child welfare services.

National Māori Women's Welfare League president Prue Kapua

Prue Kapua, Māori Women's Welfare League president. Photo: Māori Women's Welfare League

The Māori Women's Welfare League says reforms outlined in Cabinet papers appear to weaken the role of whanau, hapū and iwi in ensuring children stayed as close to family as possible.

It is considering lodging an urgent claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in a bid to delay a bill on the restructure of Child Youth and Family.

President Prue Kapua has written to Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, asking her to hold off introducing the legislation until Māori have been properly consulted.

Ms Kapua said the proposed changes were alarming and affected Māori more than any other group because they made up the majority of children in state care.

They may be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, she said.

"In taking children out of the whanau, hapū involvement - that would be a breach of the Treaty.

"The issue of consultation is really important here too."

The government plans to introduce legislation before the end of the year.