Oranga Tamariki has 15 Community Response Forums whose job is to provide the Minister for Children (now Tracey Martin) with an independent view on how the Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki) is meeting its obligations in supporting any child whose wellbeing is at significant risk of harm now or in the future.
The CRFs are appointed by the Minister and meet several times a year.
In early June the Minister asked all the CRF chairs to come to Wellington for a meeting where she was to outline her priorities for the future direction of the CRFs.
The meeting was scheduled for the morning of Friday 5 July. On 4 July all the forum chairs assembled in Wellington. That night they held a meeting to discuss various issues and concerns they wanted to discuss with the Minister.
When they assembled the next morning at 9.30 they were told the Minister would not be attending. Having asked them all to come to Wellington to meet her, she stood them up!
Instead she sent officials to represent her. Those officials were, I am told, unable to tell the CRF chairs what the Minister expected of them nor give them any directions for the future.
So the meeting was a complete waste of time. It also would have cost probably over $20,000 in airfares and accommodation.
UPDATE: The Minister has said on Twitter she had a migraine, hence why she couldn’t attend. Fair enough. But why were attendees not told?