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Union challenges Oranga Tamariki Manager to 'front up or resign'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The claim that there has been only one person harmed at Te Puni Wai this year by a young person is either a deliberate lie or a demonstration of the total disconnection with the actual reality of the situation on the frontline, NUPE Secretary Janice Gemmell said today.

She was responding to the statement made by Ben Hannifin, OT’s Director of Youth Justice System Development, that he believed, only one staff member at Te Puna Wai, this year, had been harmed by a young person.

"I’m so confident in my comments on the matter that I will resign as NUPE Secretary should Mr Hannifin’s statements be proven correct," Janice Gemmell said. "However, we expect Mr Hannifin to resign should his statements be proven to be incorrect, and that more than 1 staff member has been harmed."

NUPE’s understanding is around 20 staff have been harmed at Te Puni Wai since January. NUPE believes approximately 10 could be considered more serious as staff have been kicked and punched, Janice Gemmell said.

Te Puni Wai is only one Residence. Residential staff throughout the country are facing similar situations. Staff are being physically and verbally abused across the Residences.

"Ben Hannifin says that OT staff are ‘rock stars’ and we agree," Janice Gemmell said. "But everyone knows that rock stars have security and are looked after."

Simply this situation must stop. Staff have a right to be safe at work and currently their safety is not the priority of OT.

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