Last ditch campaign for Roxburgh children’s village

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PAM.JONES
@alliedpress.co.nz

Southern mayors say they are having “one last push” to try to save the Stand Children’s Services Roxburgh children’s village, as they launch a campaign aimed at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan and Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan this week announced the “e-mob” campaign, which they are co-ordinating for Tuesday, May 29, one month before the Roxburgh village is scheduled to close.

The mayors said since the closure of the village was announced the public response had been “palpable”.

“We have been stopped in the street regularly by people describing their shock at the loss and telling us their own stories of family members and friends from their childhood who they considered saved by their time at the village.”

They said there was “still time to fight” to keep the Roxburgh service running, which would be possible if the Government would provide another $1.5million a year to the village.

“This is the last chance to not go down without a fight and without letting Wellington know how the people of the South feel about what is being done to this crucial service for our children.”

The mayors said they were “completely sure” there was no replacement service available for the children who would benefit from the residential trauma rehabilitation service the Roxburgh village provided.

In South Otago, Bryan Cadogan said assurances from Oranga Tamariki that other agencies would be “picking up the slack” cdid not stand up to closer inspection.

That meant he and others protesting the closure had a “moral responsibility” to do whatever they could to help the area’s “most vulnerable” children.

“Oranga Tamariki have said to us ‘there are 520 other agencies we fund around New Zealand who can pick up the slack with these kids.’ We’ve talked to our local agencies and there are, in fact, four – none of whom have the capabilities to address the additional volume and type of caseload in the provenly effective ways Roxburgh has until now.”

The facility was important because it offered a means for social service agencies to step into “complex” family situations before they escalated into longer-term issues for all concerned, Bryan Cadogan said.

“With the loss of Roxburgh, our local agencies are saying they’ve lost their ability to save the day in many of these cases. Well, if Wellington isn’t going to step up and take responsibility, we’ll do it ourselves and stick up for our most vulnerable residents.”

Minister for Children Tracey Martin last week began the first of 14 regional hui, with officials talking to children’s services contractors about improved services.

A hui for lower South Island providers, expected to touch upon the Roxburgh closure, will be held in Balclutha tomorrow.

People who live south of the Waitaki River are being asked to email this month’s Garrick Tremain Otago Daily Timescartoon about the Roxburgh village closure to Prime Minister Ardern for the “e-mob” campaign.

Those taking part are asked to email the cartoon to jacinda.ardern@parliament.govt.nz on May 29, with “Roxburgh – let’s NOT do this” in the subject line.

They are then being asked to email “done” (in the subject line) to roxburghletsnotdothis@gmail.com to record the number of people who have emailed Ms Ardern.

The mayors are asking for only one email to be sent per person.

– An online version of this story and cartoon can be found at www.thenews.co.nz

  • The cartoon is also available on Tim Cadogan’s mayoral facebook page, Tim Cadogan Mayor.
  • Those without computer access can have the cartoon emailed on their behalf by visiting any Central Otago library on Tuesday May 29.

    – Additional reportingOtago Daily Times