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Maori Party co-leader slams the Government for allowing abuse of children

Child abuse is endemic in New Zealand, says Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox has slammed the Government for allowing children to be abused.

The mother of nine, whose party is a Government ally, has backed up her support of a tweet on social media on Monday night claiming the Government was covering up child abuse.

The tweet referenced Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight - a movie about a newspaper investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church  - saying "Spotlight winning hopefully warns #NZ Government to stop its coverup".

Fox retweeted the Government criticism from her own account on Monday night and on Tuesday stood by it saying "there is more and more evidence that there is an underbelly of abuse in this country".

"Children are not being protected properly, they're being put back into care of abusers, or past abusers through our own CYF (Child Youth and Family) process."

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*Children in state care are being abused and CYF is failing them - report


Last year the Government announced a major overhaul of CYF, which would aim to rebuild the organisation from the ground up and the details of which were expected to be released prior to the Budget in May.

Fox said the Government continues to wait for the CYF review and in the meantime "perpetuates abuse on children".

"We've found evidence of misconduct, poor behaviour or coercion in CYF's office that shows children have been alienated from parents or put back at the risk of abuse. Now there may not be a cover up as such, but we need to address it head on."

She said the Government was allowing the problem to continue by not protecting the country's most vulnerable children.

"How long do we wait? How long do we allow those children to continue to suffer at the hands of the system while we wait for a review to take place?"

Child abuse was "endemic" in New Zealand and it was time for the Government to act more swiftly, Fox said.