27 January 2023  Media Releases

Motels can never be a home

A response to mokopuna spending not just three months, or six months, but over 600 days living in a motel.

An Official Information Act release to the NZ Herald by Oranga Tamariki reveals mokopuna spending excessive lengths of time housed in motels by the agency.

To be attributed to the Children's Commissioner, Judge Frances Eivers:
"Myself and previous Commissioners have been clear that the use of motels at all is deplorable, and a symptom of a system that is failing children.

"Concerns around the practice have been raised repeatedly for over a decade, yet seemingly no effort has been made to develop an alternative.

"To now discover that a number of our mokopuna have been stranded in motels rooms not just three months, or six months, but even for over a year and a half is a shocking testimony of how callous our system has become.

"To be clear, these mokopuna are being kept in motels for longer periods than the sentences served by most young offenders.

"We get told there are no other options for these young people, that their behaviour merits this response, but I simply do not buy it.

"There has long been a need for smaller, specialised homes throughout Aotearoa that are equipped and resourced to meet challenging, complex behaviour with a therapeutic - not punitive – response.

"Multiple agencies have a role in the wellbeing of these young people. In particular Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Health need to collaborate to make that a reality. In truth they already should have."


You can read the NZ Herald article here:

young person spends more than 600 days living in motel before oranga tamariki find suitable alternative