Crown Response Unit Pānui April 2023

Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry logo with the text heading "Listening, learning, changing Mā Whakarongo me Ako ka huri te tai"

12 April 2023 

Kia ora koutou, 

Today the Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon Barbara Edmonds, announced the Government has agreed to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission’s request to delay delivery of the Commission’s final report until 28 March 2024. This extends by nine months the previous delivery date of 30 June 2023. 

Crown Response Unit director Isaac Carlson has issued a statement (below) to reassure survivors the pace and timing of the Crown Response work on the new redress system will not be affected by this decision and the Minister for the Public Service, Andrew Little, confirmed recently the redress system design work remains a priority for Government. 

Today Minister Little announced the appointments of Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu) and Ruth Jones QSM (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata) as co-chairs of a survivor-led design group.  

The Minister noted that Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll and Ruth Jones will provide leadership and direction for the design and advisory groups as they develop high-level proposals for the design of a new redress system. 

It was decided to have two chairs given the significant leadership work required and their responsibility to support the wellbeing of those involved. 

The redress system design work results from the recommendations made in the Royal Commission’s interim redress report. The Crown committed to delivering on those recommendations when the report was delivered, and that commitment remains firm. 

The co-chairs have been appointed for seven months from April 2023. Short biographies about the co-chairs can be found here.  

Design and Advisory group appointments 

A formal process is underway to appoint the remaining members of the design and advisory groups. Members will be appointed to the groups by the Minister for the Public Service. Appointment decisions are likely to happen in May. 

Statement from Isaac Carlson, Director, Crown Response Unit: Work on new redress system for survivors to continue as fast as possible 

Work on the new, independent redress system for survivors of abuse in care will not be affected by the deferral of the Royal Commission’s final report, Crown Response Unit director Isaac Carlson says. 

“The Minister for the Public Service, Hon Andrew Little, recently confirmed to Radio NZ that the redress design work remains a priority for Government,” Mr Carlson says. “This commitment is not affected by the decision to defer the Royal Commission’s final report date. The redress work can continue regardless, at the same pace.” 

Today, Minister Little announced that Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu) and Ruth Jones QSM (Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata) have been appointed as co-Chairs of the survivor-led redress design group. They will provide leadership and direction for the design group and an advisory group to support it. The design group will develop the key features of the new system for decision by Ministers.  

The Redress system design work results from the recommendations made in the Royal Commission’s redress report. The Crown committed to delivering on those recommendations when the report was delivered, and that commitment remains firm.  

“We know that many survivors want to see progress – we can assure you that progress is being made,” Mr Carlson says. 

Rapid payments 

“Work has continued on projects to assist survivors before the new system is ready. One of these – rapid payments under current claims systems – was started late last year by the Ministry of Social Development, prioritising people who are ill or elderly and those who have been waiting the longest to have their claim resolved. 

The rapid payments option for claimants has attracted good interest. The continued roll-out of rapid payments won’t be affected by the deferral of the Royal Commission’s report. 

Other projects 

“Work is also progressing on two other projects – an interim listening service to provide continuity of service for survivors between the conclusion of the Royal Commission and the launch of the new redress system, and work to improve survivors’ access to their records of their time in care. These projects are not affected by the deferral. 

“The only project affected by the deferral is the timing of a public apology to survivors for the abuse they suffered in care. Work towards an apology will now be based on this happening in 2024, as an apology cannot be made before the Royal Commission delivers its final report,” Mr Carlson says. 

ENDS 

Biographies 

Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Canterbury, with a focus on and background in Māori public health. Dr Ahuriri-Driscoll has a significant publication record and is highly regarded in public health. Dr Ahuriri-Driscoll is a survivor.  

Dr Ahuriri-Driscoll’s leadership experience is based in the health and academic sectors, with board experience on advisory, health, and community trusts – including the Cancer Society, Health Research Council, Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology, and the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia. 

Ruth Jones is co-director of a disability consultancy and an experienced facilitator and disabled leader. Ruth and her husband are proud to lead Hei Whakapiki Mauri, a Whānau Ora entity supporting tangata and whānau whaikaha.  Ruth has lived experience of closed adoption.  She also has a strong track record of working in diverse communities. Her community leadership and service to disabled people was recognised by a Queens Service Medal in 2014.  

Ms Jones has extensive government and community governance experience. She is currently a member of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board and member of Te Tauraki the Iwi Partnership Board for the Ngai Tahu takiwai. Past appointments include the Enabling Good Lives Governance Group and National Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families.  

Enquiries:  

contact@abuseinquiryresponse.govt.nz 

Ngā mihi nui, Crown Response Unit 

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