Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

George Ngatai QSM is backing a name change for the Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

I was informed yesterday that the new Government was planning to drop the word ‘vulnerable’ from the ministry’s name. Incoming Minister for Children Tracey Martin later confirmed the change was coming, tweeting: “I have just been sworn in as the Minister for Children. Not Vulnerable but all children.”

George who is a White Ribbon Ambassador, the Director for The Whanau Ora Community Clinic Medical Centre and also the Co-Chair of Safer Aotearoa Family Violence Prevention Network (SAFVPN) was one of many organisations who criticized the ministry’s name last year, opting like many to call it by its Māori name – Oranga Tamariki – which translates as ‘the wellbeing of our children’.

“We said at the time that calling some children ‘vulnerable’ risked labelling and stigmatising the group who needed the most help, and creating a distance between the community and those trying to help,” George Ngatai said.

Many people including some ministry staff said that the name was inappropriate and the fact the incoming Minister for Children made one minor change to the name is a huge thing for our whanau and our organisations who work with children.

“I understand that the re-branding hasn’t necessarily been completed across the country and so there is still time to update with this new name.

Obviously Oranga Tamariki and Ministry for Social Development websites still used the word ‘vulnerable’ so it may take a little while yet.

I’m also pleased that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken responsibility for the Ministry for Child Poverty Reduction and another Auckland based MP Carmel Sepuloni is responsible for the Ministry of Social Development.

It does feel a bit like a new manager coming in and the first thing they do is order a new chair and a coffee machine for their floor.

Let’s change all the signage, letterhead, stationery and business cards – again.

Excellent fiscal prudence from a brand new minister.  Change the name.

Just like the previous minister.

Number of children helped so far?   None.

People working with the children that need something for their jobs?  Sorry, no budget.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

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