Press Statement:

09 May 2024 

“You promised, now deliver”; VOYCE Rangatira present at Select Committee calling on government to act. 

VOYCE Rangatira will bravely stand up today on behalf of all care experienced tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa, calling on the government to honour their promises made to children in care.

The six promises, which stemmed from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). , sparked a 4,000+ signature strong petition and hīkoi to Parliament last year, asking political leaders to adhere to the commitments made over three decades.

Now, three rangatahi will go one step further by delivering oral submissions at the Petitions Select Committee. 

VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai has been advocating for care experienced tamariki since 2017, and CEO Tracie Shipton says right now, the commitments to children in care are not being upheld.

“In contrast to their peers, children and young people in care experience homelessness and mental distress, lack access to consistent and good quality health services and education opportunities, and are disconnected from their culture, community, and identity, at a far greater rate.”

The six promises, which were developed by young people in care, have formed the foundation of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai’s campaign, “You Promised… Now Deliver!”.

  1. I promise to take care of you and make sure you have the things you need
  2. I promise to make sure you have safety and stability in your life
  3. I promise to help you with your education goals and dreams
  4. I promise to support you with healthcare when you need it
  5. I promise to listen and include you when decisions are made about you
  6. I promise to help you feel confident in who you are, and learn about your whakapapa, culture and language

Lisa is one of three rangatahi preparing to present a submission and says it’s about time the government listened to the voice of young people. 

“Since our hīkoi to Parliament, I’ve heard the very same politicians who stood before us refer to our written recommendations as advice that is not mandatory to take.”

“When we stand before the Select Committee, what we are sharing is not just advice, it’s fact. We shouldn’t have to make submissions at the Select Committee to be listened to.”

Jake, another young VOYCE advocate, is also set to make a submission and agrees. 

“I hope that the government will uphold the six basic promises by protecting the lives of care experienced tamariki.”

“It’s disgraceful that the obligations and protection within the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and the Children’s and Young People’s Wellbeing act 1989 are not being followed, and that Tamariki are not having their basic human rights upheld.”

“The government must do better for our Tamariki in care.”

Tracie Shipton says young people in care are tired of their peers being used as political footballs.

“In an environment where political discourse regarding young people has focused on punitive, tough on crime rhetoric, care-experienced rangatahi are saying ‘enough’.” 

“It’s time that our politicians take seriously the parental responsibility the state holds for young people and children in care.”Promises have been made. Now, our Rangatahi demand action!

The 6 Promises Petition Oral Submission will be heard by the Petitions Select Committee on Thursday 9 May at 3pm.

The livestream will be available online on the Petitions Committee webpage

For more information, and for interview requests, please contact Wilhelmina Shrimpton – VOYCE Media Liaison

+64 21 711 697 

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