The Māori Party wants to take Māori children out of the care of Oranga Tamariki and into a new independent entity, saying the current system is "shameful".
The Mokopuna Māori Policy, launched by Te Taitokerau candidate Mariameno Kapa-Kingi today in Whangārei, takes aim at the embattled state agency, which has come under fire for its actions around "routine" removal of Māori babies from their families.
"We are at a tipping point and the time has come for us to take back our rights as tangata whenua," Kapa-Kingi said.
"Our babies make up 70 per cent of children in state care and are effectively funded to stay with people to whom they have no whakapapa connection – mokopuna Māori do not belong in generic state care, they belong within whānau, hapū and iwi.
"The latest global pandemic has created an opportunity for us to reset our compass for 'True North' and build our own kaupapa Māori system for Māori, by Māori, as Māori."
Oranga Tamariki has been subject to four investigations in the past year over its uplift practices, sparked by the highly publicised uplift of a 6-day-old baby from his 19-year-old mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital.
Most recently Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier found the removal of newborn babies from their parents without notice had become more "routine" than "exception".
Boshier said high caseloads and limited Māori specialist staff were contributing factors.
In response, Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss said they had recently made changes to their practices, employed more Māori specialists, and developed partnerships with iwi.
More than a quarter of its frontline social workers are Māori.
But the Māori Party said there changes were only superficial, to "brown up" their team, but not change the "culture which harms our tamariki and mokopuna".
The policy would see $600 million diverted from Oranga Tamariki to establish an independent Mokopuna Māori Entity, which would be responsible for the care of all mokopuna Māori in Aotearoa.
The service would be provided "by Māori, for Māori, to Māori".
The entity would also establish a partnership network across Māori organisations, hapū, and iwi, to ensure mokopuna Māori remain connected to their whakapapa.