Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced changes to the terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. The changes include narrowing the scope of the Royal Commission and changing some of the reporting timelines.

Published in New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse

The Beehive media release states that “Cabinet has adjusted the Royal Commission’s terms of reference by:

  • Allowing the Royal Commission a small extension of up to five months to give it time to complete its final report back by June 2023,
  • Moving the due date forward to October 2021 for its report on redress for survivors of historical abuse and how the redress process can be improved, so Government can move more quickly to make improvements, and
  • Narrowing the Royal Commission’s scope by removing the requirement for it to look at modern-day care policy settings to avoid duplication with other reviews already underway, and so it can focus on the causes, extent and nature of historical abuse in care.”

Minister Tinetti said the changes would ensure the Commission could deliver the final report in 2023. She said:

“I reflected on what the Royal Commission was originally tasked with and whether that scope remains appropriate. And in doing so, it became clear that some adjustments are necessary, so the Royal Commission can complete its job by 2023.

“Since the Royal Commission was established, there have been a number of reviews and investigations into contemporary State care issues, which have significant overlaps and risk duplication with the Royal Commission’s work.”

The Royal Commission issued a statement in response to the announcement. The Royal Commission said they would speak to Minister Tinetti “…to clarify the nature and extent of this change and the implications for survivors and those currently in care.” The Commission also said “It is imperative that any changes to current care systems and practices be informed by past learnings. Our recommendations about these will be outlined in our reports, including the final report.”

RNZ has reported that advocates and survivors have criticised the decision.

The original terms of reference were confirmed in 2018. These confirmed the inquiry would focus on people who were in care between 1950 and 1999, but also allowed the Commission to hear from people who were in care at any point after 1999 or currently in care.

Published in New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse
27 April 2021