December 03, 2022

Article at NZ Herald

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Heads should roll over the death of Malachi Subecz

The death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz should not be in vain.  Photo / Supplied
The death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz should not be in vain. Photo / Supplied

National Urban Māori Authority Chair, Lady Tureiti Moxon is adamant recommendations of Dame Karen Poutasi and her bureaucratic review into the horrific death of five-year-old Malachi Subecz is just another report that will not address the failure of state agencies.

While five critical gaps have been identified in the system and six Crown agencies failed in their duty of care, the absence of critical details on how to tackle the systemic breakdowns in all the Crown agencies given one year has passed is a glaring cause for concern.

“No child should die when exposed to so many agencies. All of whom failed to use their common-sense in this situation. Had that happened outside of the State in the private sector, they would’ve been closed down,” Lady Moxon said.

“These recommendations are really about fixing themselves up internally – there are no recommendations on how and what should happen within various government ministries concerning working together so they can bring about a much more holistic system of care for tamariki in the community.”

Lady Tureiti Moxon, Chair of National Urban Māori Authority. Photo / NZME

Moxon also challenges why there have not been more substantial consequences. She believes this is yet another report filed against the backdrop of Crown agencies carrying on like it is business as usual.

“No amount of apology will bring this child back. Someone’s head needs to roll because of this – it appears like they stand behind this cover of protection by the Crown who protects itself.”

“Even though staff may no longer be civil servants, they have the ability to transfer and work anywhere else in the same role – what are the repercussions?”

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Lady Tureiti believes all the leadership and Ministries need to be held to account – “all of them.”

“I go back to what I’ve always said that Māori should be empowered to look after ourselves, our own way – the State needs to stop doing what its always done, which is to be the gatekeeper. We need transformational change.”

“They don’t have all the answers and they’re obviously not upholding what they’re tasked with – which is to provide care and protection for all of us.”

“How many more failed reports by all these government agencies do we need? There is something terribly wrong with this picture.”

Moxon believes there is a dire need for substantive work to be done that is far more constructive than what is currently in existence to bring about transformational change right across government departments.

“They’re all kept alive on the backs of the poverty and misery of struggling whānau.”

“We always see money put into an organisation after the event – we need to front foot this and get into the home,” said Whānau Ora Chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, an affiliate of National Urban Māori Authority.