Royal Commission extended as new evidence emerges
Today the Government will announce that it has extended our final report deadline from 30 June 2023 to 28 March 2024. The Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Barbara Edmonds is due to make an announcement on the extension in the next few hours, so please keep this information confidential until after the Minister's announcement.
We welcome the extension. It acknowledges the enormity of this inquiry and the importance of getting it right. However, we also know that survivors have been waiting a long time for recognition of the abuse and neglect that they suffered in the care of the State and faith-based institutions. It is with this in mind that the Royal Commission will continue to work hard to ensure that its final report is impactful and, importantly, creates change.
Set by the Government, the Royal Commission has the largest Terms of Reference of any Inquiry in the world. Our final report and recommendations must be robust and credibly meet the Terms of Reference, as well the expectation of the courageous survivors who shared their care experiences and ongoing impact.
The scale of abuse is beyond what was expected at the start of this inquiry. Up until registrations closed on 21 March 2023, survivors continued to come forward to be heard. We also continue to receive significant amounts of new evidence. We have received new 450,000 evidential documents recently and held 133 days of public hearings and many survivor engagements across the motu.
We are now focused on analysing this information, testing and refining our findings and recommendations to ensure they will affect meaningful change to prevent abuse in care happening again.
Over the coming weeks, the Commission will begin testing recommendations with survivors, iwi, Māori, Pacific community, mental health sector, disability sector, rainbow community, faith leaders and Government. Some sectors may require more time than others for testing, while some ideas will need more time to refine.
We will also release a case study report on St John of God’s Marylands School later this year.
As you are aware, the Royal Commission prioritised the He Purapura Ora, he Māra Tipu - From Redress to Puretumu Torowhānui report ahead of its final report so the Government could swiftly implement a redress system that was fair to and worked for survivors. We are encouraging the Government to implement our Redress recommendations at pace.
We will progress our mahi as quickly as possible to shine a light on the atrocities of the past and deliver a report and set of recommendations that demand transformational change in the way we nurture and protect tamariki, rangatahi and adults in care.