Media release

Chief Ombudsman to conduct wide-ranging investigation into the removal of newborn babies

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Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is conducting his own wide-ranging and independent investigation into the steps Oranga Tamariki takes when newborn babies are removed. 

Mr Boshier confirmed his investigation was underway when he appeared before Parliament’s Governance and Administration Committee this afternoon.

“Cabinet announced in April that from July 1, I will have a greater degree of oversight over Oranga Tamariki which will include reviewing complaints and conducting investigations. It is important for me to start looking at this issue immediately.”

Mr Boshier says there has been a great deal of public concern following an attempt by Oranga Tamariki to remove a week old baby from its mother in Hawke’s Bay hospital last month. 

“No one is more vulnerable than a newborn baby. I think the public needs assurance that the right policies and processes are in place for their protection while at the same time safeguarding the rights of whānau.

“My investigation is focussed on what a good system should look like. As an Officer of Parliament, I have unique investigative powers under the Ombudsmen Act to require all relevant information from Oranga Tamariki and others to get to the heart of things and form an independent view.”

Mr Boshier says he is pleased Oranga Tamariki is doing its own internal investigation into the Hawke’s Bay case and notes the Children’s Commissioner is also launching a thematic review focussed on Māori newborns.

“My investigation will provide a broader overview aimed at identifying best practice. It is important my investigation looks into the circumstances faced by all newborns and their whānau.”

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