Crown Response Unit Pānui February 2023

22 February 2023 

Kia ora koutou, 

This pānui/newsletter is from the Crown Response Unit – the team that responds to recommendations from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. We will issue pānui when we can update you on progress with our work programme.  

Please feel free to share this pānui to other survivors of abuse in care. They can sign up to receive the pānui at: contact@abuseinquiryresponse.govt.nz with ‘pānui’ in the email subject line. 

Redress Design Group and Advisory Group Update 

Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for the redress design and advisory group(s). More than 100 nominations were received for up to 30 positions – the Redress Design Group will have up to 10 members plus a Chair, and the Advisory Group will have up to 20 members. We really appreciate the time and effort put in by everyone. 

The independent review panel has now reviewed all nominations received and has prepared a shortlist of candidates.  This was not an easy task, given the high calibre of the nominations. The Chair of the panel, Tu Chapman has let nominees know the outcome of their review and has made herself available to talk to those who were not shortlisted. 

The panel will submit its recommendations to the Minister for Public Service and the Minister and the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee will make the final decision. 

The members of the panel are:  

  • Tu Chapman (Chair)  
  • Gary Williams  
  • Rahui Papa  
  • Amanda Hill  

More information about the Redress Design Group can be found on the Crown Response Unit’s website: 

Redress Design Group | Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry (abuseinquiryresponse.govt.nz)  

Rapid payments 

Since the announcement of Rapid Payments last year, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has been offering a Rapid Payment to survivors who are seriously ill or aged 70 year or over. So far, more than 80% of survivors who have been offered a Rapid Payment have chosen this option. It is generally taking less than four weeks for an offer to be made to them from when MSD is advised they would like a Rapid Payment. MSD reports it has had positive feedback from survivors who have chosen this approach. MSD it is now beginning to offer Rapid Payments to those survivors who have been waiting the longest to resolve their claim with MSD. 

To find out more please contact the Ministry of Social Development: 0800 631 127 or visit: 

National Apology engagement update 

We are working with Ministers on the delivery of a national apology. Last year we met with several survivors, including Māori, Pacific, Deaf and Disabled survivors to talk about the national apology. We asked the survivors for their views on: 

  • what an apology event should look like (what, where, when, who and how) 
  • the content of a national apology  
  • actions that should accompany a national apology (a memorial, commemoration etc). 

We will continue to provide updates on this work as we finalise decisions with Ministers around the timing and delivery of an apology. 

As background, the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry recommended the Crown and relevant faith-based institutions, and indirect State care providers publicly acknowledge and apologise for the tūkino (abuse and trauma) inflicted and suffered by individuals and communities and the nation, including: 

  • a public apology to survivors by the Governor-General, Prime Minister and heads of relevant faith-based institutions and indirect State care providers. 
  • specific public apologies, where appropriate, to groups harmed, including Māori, either on this inquiry’s recommendation or that of the puretumu torowhānui scheme (redress system), or as a result of direct engagement with affected communities (recommendation 10 of the Royal Commission’s interim report). 

Listening service 

Currently, survivors of abuse in care can contact the Royal Commission to share their experiences of harm in care and the impact of that harm. But the Royal Commission will close down in mid-2023, before the new independent redress system is established.  

Therefore, a new listening service has been recommended. The service would provide safe, supportive, confidential place to share their care experiences. The design will use targeted consultation with survivor groups. It will draw on the experience of the Royal Commission process and the previous Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) for survivors, which ran from 2008 to 2015. The Crown Response Unit has been working with survivors about this work and we have submitted advice to Ministers. 

Easier records access for survivors 

Ministers are considering how to improve survivors’ access to records of their time in care, following concerns raised during the Inquiry. 

The Royal Commission found many survivors had difficulty getting their records quickly and fully. The problems included lengthy delays, or getting incomplete or heavily redacted information. 

Ministers recognises there are many issues around the creation of, and access to, survivor records. The Crown Response Unit has been working with survivors and experts on some immediate improvements to how survivors access their records. We have submitted advice to Ministers about this work. 

Appointments 

New Director of the Crown Response Unit 

Isaac Carlson (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne) started work on 2 February 2023 as the new Director of the Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. 

Isaac was previously Head of Injury Prevention at ACC, where he worked since 2007 across all aspects of prevention, care and recovery. He has worked collaboratively across the public sector in strengthening partnerships, supporting the delivery of public sector strategies, and supporting the development of whānau-centred well-being models.  

Isaac replaces Alana Ruakere, who has taken up the position of chief executive of Tui Ora Ltd, an iwi-based social services provider in New Plymouth. 

New Minister for Public Service – responsible for the Crown Response Unit 

The Crown Response Unit was set up to respond to recommendations from the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. The Minister responsible for the Unit is the Minister for Public Service and following a Cabinet reshuffle announced on 31 January 2023, our new Minister is Hon Andrew Little (it was previously Hon Chris Hipkins). If you would like to know more about Minister Little his biography is here:  

Hon Andrew Little | Beehive.govt.nz 

Take care and email us at contact@abuseinquiryreponse.govt.nz if you have any questions or you no longer want to receive these updates. 

Ngā mihi nui, 

Crown Response Unit 

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