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Tags: Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care

E36 19 October 2018: Social Research and Policy Snippets

Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry

The Minister of Health, David Clark, has advised that an extension has been given for the report on the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry back to Cabinet. It will now be delivered by 30 November.  This is to recognise the 5,500 submissions were received on this topic.  (Note the submissions are considered sensitive and are therefore not available for public purview.)

By way of background, the inquiry is broad in scope, and the terms of reference enable recommendations to be made across all structures within the health and the broader public sector.  The inquiry is chaired by Professor Ron Paterson, and there are two Māori on the panel of six (Sir Mason Durie and Dean Rangihuna). This is a policy area of particular importance to Māori, as Māori are significantly over-represented in mental health service areas, and in suicide statistics. The terms of reference acknowledge this health inequality, and require the panel to consider this matter, and to also work in ways appropriate to Māori, and in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi.


Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care

The Minister for Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin, has put out a media statement indicating circa 500 people have expressed interest in giving evidence into the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care. Fifteen staff are also apparently working with the Commissioner Sir Anand Satyanand in preparatory stages of the inquiry.

Yet what is missing from the media statement is any word on the appointment of other Royal Commission members – which is odd given this is such a significant inquiry, and it was announced over six months ago. That is, to date Māori input on this matter remains at zero – despite the draft terms of reference stating that, “a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori”.  Māori tamariki comprise over half of young people in State care, so the Government needs to appoint people to this Inquiry with a strong understanding of Māori care and abuse specific matters; and the sooner the better in our assessment.


 Criminal Justice Sector Reforms – Further Consultation

The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has announced that his advisory group for justice sector reforms will now hold a series of regional public consultation meetings. By way of background, this initiative is called, Hāpai i te Ora Tangata / Safe and Effective Justice, and commenced with a large national conference/hui in August. A key theme of the work programme is addressing and reducing Māori rates of criminal offending and reoffending; and as previously advised the working group has four Māori members: Quentin Hix, Tracey McIntosh, Carwyn Jones, and Julia Amua Whaipooti.  The following two articles highlight new data relevant to this policy initiative.
Justice Sector Reforms Public Consultation Meetings.

Date Time Location Venue
29 October 12:30pm – 3:30 pm Timaru Timaru Council Chambers
30 October 9:00am – 12:00pm Christchurch Aranui Library
5 November 1:00pm – 4:30pm Tauranga TBA
6 November 1:00pm – 4:00pm Whangārei Whangārei Central Library
13 November 1:00pm – 4:00pm Tokoroa Tokoroa Public Library
14 November 9:00am – 1:00pm Te Kuiti Te Kuiti Community Room
15 November TBA New Plymouth TBA
17 November 9:00am – 11:00am Palmerston North Palmerston North City Library

Homicide Victims Data Released

Last month the New Zealand Police published a report entitled Police Statistics on Homicide Victims in New Zealand 2007 – 2016: Summary of Statistics about Victims of Murder, Manslaughter, and Infanticide. The report showed between 2007 and 2016, 223 Māori were victims of homicide, which was 33% of all victims (686 in total).  Māori males comprised 22% (154) of all victims and 69% of the total number of Māori victims.  These statistics are a sad over-representation, given Māori comprise only 15% of the total population.

http://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/homicide-victims-report-2017-and-historic-nz-murder-rate-report-1926-2017


Injury Data Released

Last week Statistics New Zealand released injury data. There are two stand-out areas for Māori: injuries from assaults at 37 per 100,000 people, and injuries from motor vehicle accidents at 67 per 100,000.  Both rates   are significantly higher than for non-Māori.  The overall injury data shows a similar rate of non-fatal but serious injuries (and a lower rate of Māori having falls).[1]

https://www.stats.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Serious-injury-outcome-indicators/Serious-injury-outcome-indicators-2000-17/Download-data/serious-injury-outcome-indicators-2000-17.xlsx

[1] Falls are associated more frequently with elderly citizens and there are fewer Māori elderly than others, i.e. a life expectancy disparity of 7 years.  This fact sheet does not probe such matters.

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

Yesterday the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, formally announced that there would be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse in State care. This commitment had been part of her (Labour) party’s election manifesto commitments, so the announcement puts that into place.

The Royal Commission will be led by Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand – a former Governor-General. Draft terms of reference have been agreed by Cabinet, but these will only be finalised after consultation.  The draft is not yet released, but the Department of Internal Affairs indicates the inquiry will consider “the nature and extent of abuse that occurred in state care, what its immediate and long term impacts were, the factors (including systemic factors) which may have caused or contributed to it, and lessons to be learned from the past.”  The inquiry will also consider current settings to prevent and respond to any such abuse.  Further, a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori and other groups where differential impact is evident…”  This will include considering factors leading to someone being placed in State care.

In our assessment, given the United Nations had already asked New Zealand to investigate these matters, and given the Ministry of Social Development has already settled over 1,600 proven individual claims in this area – and has at least another 1,000 in process, there is no doubt that such an inquiry is warranted. The last (National) Government’s refusal to resolve this matter simply presented as a home goal in the lead up to the election.  We note from the extract above, as with other inquiries being launched, the Government is conscious that the experience for Māori in this area may be different from that for others.  This is useful, given Māori comprise over half of young people in State care; (i.e. circa 3,100 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State care, and a further 360 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State youth residences.)

Other members of the Commission have yet to be named, but we would expect at least one or two people with a strong understanding of Māori and State care issues to be appointed, and we will advise further as the matter progresses. Many subscribing organisations may wish to consider making submissions to this Inquiry.