"Too many" children are going into state care in New Zealand and "too many" children are being harmed, the Prime Minister said today.
"We want to end both," Jacinda Ardern said during her post-Cabinet press conference, as she was questioned about Oranga Tamariki in the wake of a Newsroom documentary that showed social workers attempting to uplift a baby.
"The sad reality is at the moment that we have too much of both, and ultimately it is about trying to prevent uplift," she said. "But it's also about trying to prevent harm."
Ms Ardern said an inquiry into the processes undertaken by Oranga Tamariki concerning the attempted uplift of a baby had been launched, and work would occur between Oranga Tamariki and iwi "to try and prevent children from coming into care in the first place".
"The ultimate goal has to be reducing the amount of children who are in state care," she added.
"They're not perfect, but they're charged with keeping families safe and we need to support them to do that. But we need to bring in other partners and that includes iwi to help them do that job.
"Oranga Tamariki have been working for some time to improve the care of children who are currently with Oranga Tamariki, because they are disproportionately Māori."
Ms Ardern said Budget 2019 had seen an investment into early intervention, "to try and prevent children from being uplifted in the first place".