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22 November 2007 - Family First - Key Must Commit to Protecting Good Families From Bad Smacking Law

22 November 2007

Key Must Commit to Protecting Good Families From Bad Smacking Law

Family First NZ is calling on National leader John Key to commit to changing the anti-smacking law after a father was the first parent convicted of assault for smacking his 8-year old on the bottom.

“John Key said that the law should not criminalise good parents for lightly smacking their children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Here we have a young family, an expectant mother, a father attempting to do his very best, and a law which treats him as a criminal rather than a system that offers the support, encouragement and resources they may need.”

“While community organisations working with at-risk families and Plunket are driven to their knees because of a lack of adequate funding, there seems to be no shortage of resources in investigating good parents who use a light smack.”

Family First has highlighted five cases already where CYF and Police have conducted intensive investigations of families simply because of supposed ‘abuse’, including a grandmother interviewed by police for smacking a swearing granddaughter in a Warehouse store, three police appearing on the doorstep of a home where a 2 year old was having a bedtime tantrum, and a mother dobbed into CYF by the local school.

There are similar cases being notified to Family First NZ on a weekly basis.

“And many parents are confirming that children are telling them “you can’t touch me or I’ll tell the police’”

“We are creating a ‘paranoid parenting’ environment,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This case has confirmed kiwi parents’ worst nightmare. This law will target good parents while child abuse continues at the same rate, and the real causes of family breakdown and stress, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and other significant issues are ignored.”

“The predictions made by the many community groups and 83% of NZ’ers opposing this law have, unfortunately, proved true.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

22 November 2007 - The Dominion Post - Three smacks and he's 'guilty'

Three smacks and he's 'guilty'
By TANYA KATTERNS - The Dominion Post | Thursday, 22 November 2007

A father who spanked his eight-year-old son on the bottom three times for misbehaving at school is one of the first to be convicted of assault under the law against smacking.

The Masterton man was sentenced to nine months' supervision yesterday after admitting he had grabbed his son by the shoulder, held him on his knee and hit him with an open hand.

Green MP Sue Bradford has welcomed the conviction, saying the case is a good example of the May law change working as intended.

The controversial legislation removed the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically discipline their children.

But opponents say the conviction is a disgrace.

Family First national director Bob McCroskrie said parents had every reason to be concerned.

"It's the first of what's going to be many cases of the law targeting good parents. Our predictions have come true."

Masterton District Court judge Anthony Walsh told the man, whose wife is expecting their fourth child: "While you may have gotten away with this in the past, it is a case of not now."

The father, 33, who has name suppression to protect his son's identity, smacked his son on October 29. He had returned home from work to hear that his son had caused some problems at school.

The boy was in his bedroom and his father decided to confront him about his behaviour, the court was told.

Becoming frustrated, the father grabbed his son's clothes at the shoulder and pulled him on to the bed.

The father then flipped the boy over his knee and smacked him three times on the bottom with an open palm, before roughly sitting him back up.

The eight-year-old had bruising to his shoulder, the court was told.

The boy's mother, pregnant with the couple's fourth child, is understood to have taken a photograph of the bruise and shown it to a relative, who told police several days later.

The father admitted he had lost his temper. He refused to comment as he left court.

Judge Walsh, hearing the case in Masterton's newly established domestic violence court, said the smacking law change had redefined the way old attitudes toward disciplining children were viewed.

"Our law was recently amended to make it clear that children should be protected. There are other ways that must be taken to discipline children, short of violence, and that means time out and loss of privileges."

Judge Walsh told the father: "A lot of us are parents, we know children can be challenging - but we are the adults."

The father, who pleaded guilty to assault, and his wife had already sought help with anger management, parenting skills and relationship counselling before yesterday's sentencing.

He was sentenced to nine months' supervision - which means the state will now pay for the counselling.

The law took effect in June, after National inserted a clause stating police should not prosecute inconsequential smacking, though guidelines for officers do not define "inconsequential".

Police were told by their bosses that it would be a matter for the courts to determine in test cases.

Ms Bradford said she was pleased the case had been prosecuted.

"Hitting a child is an assault and there is no longer the protection that there used to be where a case like this would never go before the courts."

Police national headquarters had no figures on smacking-related convictions since June. A report is being prepared.

19 November 2007 - The Dominion Post - Hands off our lives say voters

Hands off our lives say voters
By TRACY WATKINS - The Dominion Post | Monday, 19 November 2007

Voters fear Government is exerting too much control over their lives - and they believe it has got worse in the past two years.

The finding in the latest Fairfax Media-Nielsen poll suggests the backlash over the so-called anti-smacking bill has left its mark, but could also be a response to the campaign against Labour's bid to overhaul electoral finance laws with a regime criticised as draconian and a limit on free speech.

Two thousand people protested in Auckland at the weekend against the Electoral Finance Bill, due to be reported back to Parliament today after being watered down by a select committee.

In a poll of 1082 voters, people were asked whether the Government had more control over people's daily lives than they would like and 57 per cent answered yes. A further 37 per cent of voters rejected the proposition and 6 per cent did not know.

When asked whether the level of control had increased, decreased or stayed the same over the last two years, 61 per cent said it had increased, which points to the smacking debate as a major factor.

Civil unions, Labour's push to decriminalise prostitution and even sensitivity over the recent police raids may be other factors.

Labour has come under concerted attack from National and conservative Christian groups for running a "nanny state" agenda.

Family Party co-leader Richard Lewis said the Labour Government had continued to ram through unpopular policies.

"The message I've been getting for some time now is that the Government has been stepping into areas they shouldn't be when it comes to parental responsibility and the balance of rights of New Zealanders," he said.

Labour's backing for the smacking legislation - which removes the defence of reasonable force for parents facing child abuse charges - sparked one of its biggest declines in popularity since it got into government.

The latest poll shows Labour back on the path to recovery, with 40 per cent support, just 5 points behind National. But it suggests some concerns about government interference have stuck.

Six months on from the introduction of the new smacking laws, however, those working at the coalface say fears that sparked the backlash have proved unfounded.

Police are due to release a major review of the change within weeks, but family law and child welfare experts say there has been no noticeable change to the way child violence is being reported.

There have been just two media reports of possible cases of parents being reported for smacking, with no action taken, while Child, Youth and Family reports there has been no significant rise in child abuse notifications since the law change....

16 November 2007 - The Family Party - Anti Smacking Law Poses Significant Risks

Anti Smacking Law Poses Significant Risks
Friday, 16 November 2007, 11:07 am
Press Release: The Family Party

Richard Lewis, Leader of THE FAMILY PARTY, says a recent report from the Ministry of Social Development that there has not been a “huge increase in numbers of notifications,” since the law was passed in May, is no reflection of the ever-present danger the law poses to New Zealand families.

“The government is hardly in a position to make credible statements on the affects of a law they rammed through parliament despite overwhelming public opposition. What we do know is that the law has not stopped incidents of abuse in the home. And we also know the law exposes decent, law-abiding parents to significant risk of unwarranted state intervention” says Mr Lewis.

The anti smacking bill’s architect, Sue Bradford, says a public smack could be a sign of bigger problems occurring behind closed doors. A NZPA report quotes Ms Bradford as saying, “while on the surface it might appear like a simple smack…what we don’t know is what else is happening in that family with that child, or other children, or the mother or some other family member.”

Mr Lewis says Ms Bradford’s statement reveals the true intent of the law, which is to gain unlimited access into the homes of New Zealand families.

“This really is another example of state intrusion of the worst kind. Sure, there are legitimate cases of abuse that we are all concerned about. But the police and government departments were already adequately empowered to deal with such cases under the Crimes Act. Bradford’s law gives the state unlimited power to enter a home and scrutinize the lives of decent, law-abiding parents, which is inherently unjust and abusive,” he added.

Mr Lewis says The Family Party aims to protect the rights and responsibilities of parents.


9 November 2007 - Family First Disgusted with Ministry of Education Over Sex Abuse

9 November 2007

Family First Disgusted with Ministry of Education Over Sex Abuse

Family First is shocked and disgusted with the actions of the Ministry of Education who knew about allegations of sexual abuse at Hato Paora College but did not instruct the school to contact police.

It is quite incredible that schools will rush to CYF to report a hand-smack yet are willing to hide a far more serious case of sexual abuse,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Both the Ministry and the Board of Trustees failed to contact the police despite the serious nature of these allegations. Any complaint of this type should be referred automatically to the police so that they can undertake their own investigation.”

“For a government ministry to hide this information shows just how confused they are in determining real abuse versus the role of parents and reasonable parental correction.”

This case follows other cases of government inaction in dealing with the real causes and cases of child abuse.

The Government admitted last year that it was powerless to intervene after it was revealed that teachers with a history of drugs, violence and sex offences had been allowed back into the classroom.

In July, it was revealed that a teacher convicted of sexually molesting a nine-year-old boy had been supported by his union when he was stood down from an earlier job for looking at child porn, and an art teacher who posted hard-core pornographic pictures of himself and two women on internet sex sites - with messages for girls "the younger the better" to contact him - had been allowed to continue teaching.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) tried to keep the case secret, and the Teachers Council would not reveal the teacher's name.

“It’s time the government and its departments figured out the real meaning of abuse, and started targeting it with full resources and an automatic referral to the police,” says Mr McCoskrie. “They are protecting ‘their own’ yet have no problem dobbing in good parents.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

30 October - Citizens Commission on Human Rights - New Psychological Testing of Children is Abusive

New Psychological Testing of Children is Abusive

Sunday, 28 October 2007, 1:38 pm
Press Release: Citizens Commission on Human Rights

Citizens Commission On Human Rights New Zealand Established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights

New Psychological Testing of Children is Abusive

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights are warning people about behavioural screening programmes for children and the use of drugs for learning disorders in an exhibition now on.

Commission director, Mr Steve Green is concerned about the new “b4 school checks” pilot programme currently being advertised by the Counties Manukau District Health Board because of their psychological screening component for four-year-olds.

“People are not aware that these psychological screening programmes are not based on medicine and the assessments often lead to treatment of fictitious mental disorders,” Mr Green said.

The Commission said that the psychological testing of four-year-old for behavioural problems to be used by the “b4 school check” programme is a five-minute checklist a parent fills out.

Such tests, the Commission claims, are unscientific as they claim that a small child who cannot stay still for long and who fidgets is abnormal.

The Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire is the one being used in the “b4 school check” for psychological and behavioural problems and its results can be wildly out with over 50% of children apparently abnormal, the Commission claims.

The Commission fully supports the actual health checks for the “b4 school checks” but says the psychological testing stigmatizes children with mental disorders that in reality do not exist.

“These labels stay with a person for ever and most people are not aware that mental disorders are voted into being by a panel of psychiatrists at a convention. There are no scientific or medical tests that support mental illness or disorders,” said Mr Green.

He also said that psychiatry has no test for normal behaviour and so the abnormal can be cultural and language differences which are not taken into account.


30 October - Office of the Children's Commissioner - Children's Commissioner backs charter

Children's Commissioner backs charter
Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 11:36 am
Press Release: Office of the Children's Commissioner

Children's Commissioner backs charter for children and young people in care

As a champion for the rights of every child and young person in New Zealand, Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro supports the charter for children and young people in care, launched by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) today.

"The development of this charter and its implementation plan shows Child, Youth and Family's commitment to ensuring that children and young peoples' rights are promoted and protected while they are in care.

"My office has heard directly from children and young people in care that they want a pamphlet on their rights and they want to know who to talk with if they have concerns or complaints.

"Four young people spoke at the Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, hosted by my office in February last year (2006). When asked what children and young people in care need in order to blossom, they identified four important areas that required attention. These are: stigma, rights, resilience and stability.

"One of the speakers pointed out that the care system is there to protect them from others, not others from them.

"Being placed in care can be an extremely traumatic time for children and young people. I support them in their desire to have up-to-date information about their rights and about what to do if they are not happy with their situation. It is important that we listen when children and young people voice their opinions and that they can see the powerful effect they can have on policy and practice when they do.

"I believe it is important that all children and young people in New Zealand are aware that they have individual rights, as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

"I commend CYF on its implementation plan that allows for all children and young people to receive a copy of the charter as they come into care; for those already in care to have a meeting with their social worker to explain what the charter means to them; and for all caregivers to be made aware of the charter as well. I believe this process will be valuable in developing a relationship of trust that children and young people in care must have with their social worker.

"We are keen to see the charter work in tandem with a youth-friendly complaints process.

"We would also like to see the charter embodied in the legislation to give it even more strength to ensure children and young people in care enjoy good health, education, safety and adequate resources and opportunities to develop to their full potential."


28 October 2007 - tvnz - Mother angered by anti-smacking law

Mother angered by anti-smacking law
Oct 28, 2007 9:48 AM

A mother is speaking out about her family's fear of being pulled apart thanks to the anti-smacking laws.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, has written a letter about her experiences to lobby group Family First.

She claims she was approached by CYF after her child's school dobbed her in for smacking.

The woman says a teacher had been questioning the child about their home life, after an incident involving a classmate.

Family First Director Bob McCoskrie says it's the kind of thing every parent fears from the anti smacking law, but says it's not the only time the woman's felt the effects of anti-smacking law.

He says she had previously given the boy a smack to get the boy off the trampoline and police arrived in 20 minutes saying a complaint had been laid.

McCoskrie says the incident was then referred to a foster care agency who contacted the woman.

He says no one wants to come to CYF's attention, and it's also a worry the school didn't talk to the parents first.

McCoskrie says the law needs to be clearer so families who really need help can get it.

28 October 2007 - Stuff - School dobs mum to CYF for hand smack

School dobs mum to CYF for hand smack
By RUTH LAUGESEN - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 28 October 2007

A Wellington mother says her family has been left traumatised by new anti-smacking laws, after her son's school reported her to Child, Youth and Family for smacking him on the hand.

"I don't want to feel like a child abuser, and I don't want to be labelled as a child abuser because I smacked my son," she said. "It's brought a lot of trauma to our family unit and unnecessary stress."

The woman, who did not wish to be named because she says she fears losing her children, says another smacking several months later resulted in a visit from police.

In the first incident, she came home one day in the July school holidays to find a card left by Child, Youth and Family asking her to contact a care and protection officer.

The officer told her the agency had received a complaint from the school after her son had hit another child with a ball. When asked why, the boy told the teacher he had been smacked that morning.

The mother of four said she had smacked him on the hand after he had "thrown a wobbly" instead of getting ready for school. The smack had left no mark.

She said hers was "just an average Kiwi family". Both parents worked, did not smoke or drink or "have any addictions". They smacked rarely, preferring to use time out. She said the care and protection officer had decided not to take the matter any further.

The school was unrepentant when her husband questioned its handling of the matter.

In the second incident, in September, three police officers arrived at her house after she smacked her child outside, and a neighbour complained. The police questioned her and the child separately before deciding not to take the matter any further.

A friend who was at the house at the time, Gabrielle Allen, said the arrival of police was astonishing and intimidating.

"My friend is loud, there's a lot of volume. She's just excitable. I think she's a great mum, and she really loves her children. She's consistent but she's not over the top with discipline at all."

The mother then contacted Family First, a lobby group that vociferously opposed smacking law changes passed in June. The organisation put her in touch with the Sunday Star-Times.

The mother said she had not previously been involved in Family First and had had some sympathy with Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill, "not thinking that it would affect us on a personal level".

Family First spokesman Bob McCroskrie said parents now feared the law, and Child, Youth and Family.

A spokeswoman for Associate Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said the minister did not believe the CYFs intervention was a result of the June law change, but reflected greater community sensitivity to child abuse.

The Education Ministry said schools had not been given any fresh instructions about reporting smacking since the legislation came in.

26 October 2007 - - Government u-turn as ministers tell parents they CAN smack their children

Government u-turn as ministers tell parents they CAN smack their children

UK Report
25th October 2007

Smacking ok:

The government will not ban parents smacking their children

Ministers ruled out a complete ban on smacking today after a Government review found the majority of parents opposed such a move.

Children's Minister Kevin Brennan said the law would stay as it is after officials reviewed the way new rules were working.

Despite calls from many organisations for a ban, Mr Brennan said the evidence was that fewer parents now use smacking to discipline their children.

In a statement to MPs, he said: "Whilst many parents say they will not smack, a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright.

"The Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily."

Mr Brennan's announcement came after the Government conducted a review of the law, which changed in the 2004 Children's Act.

Section 58 of the Act removed the the defence of reasonable punishment from parents and adults acting "in loco parentis" who are charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, wounding or grievous bodily harm, or cruelty to a child.

At the time, ministers promised to review the law to assess whether it was working.

Officials surveyed parents, children and examined other evidence for the review, which took place this summer.....

But he continued: "Many organisations however support legislation to ban smacking.

"The police have discretion to deal with cases as they consider appropriate, taking into account factors including the evidence available, the public interest and the best interests of the child.

"The law is clear and section 58 has improved protection for children.

"But there appears to be a lack of awareness across different audiences about the scope and application of the law.

"In response, the Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence it is not working satisfactorily.

"We will also do more to help with positive parenting."

Shadow children's minister Tim Loughton said: "This is a clear victory for common-sense.

"Clearly, if any adult is responsible for abuse and violence towards a child they need to face the full rigour of the law.

"But there is a world of difference between that and criminalising loving parents that use chastisement as they see fit in the interest of their child........

For full article and comments go to:

Comments (20)

25 October - More Swedish Parents Smack Their Children

More Swedish Parents Smack Their Children

The number of Swedish parents admitting to hitting their children is growing, despite smacking being illegal here.

In a new study by Karlstad University 2.3% of parents say they physically punish their children, that’s more than double the figures from the last study from the year 2000.

Over 23% of parents say that they have shaken or pushed their children at some time over the past year. Staffan Janson, who was in charge of the study, says that he thinks that recent media coverage of parents needing to set boundaries for their kids has meant that some parents have gone too far.

25 October 2007 - Family First - Mallard Supported Anti-Smacking Bill – Should Resign

25 October 2007

Mallard Supported Anti-Smacking Bill – Should Resign

Family First is calling on Labour MP Trevor Mallard to resign as a result of assaulting another MP.

“Not only has he set an atrocious example to our young people, but in May he voted for Sue Bradford’s bill to ban reasonable parental correction,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Mr Mallard has seen fit to criminalise good parents who use a light smack for the purpose of correction, yet has assaulted another MP. No reasonable force. Not for the purpose of correction. Simply a lack of control and discipline.”

“Mr Mallard can suggest that there were extenuating circumstances, but this same defence is not available to parents. Police discretion should not be available in an extreme case like this,” says Mr McCoskrie. “There was absolutely nothing reasonable in what he did.”

In the interests of maintaining the integrity and standard of political leadership, Mr Mallard should accept the standards imposed on all other New Zealand’s and resign.


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

24 October 2007 - Family First - Smacking Law Affecting Good Families

Smacking Law Affecting Good Families
Family First is starting to be contacted by families who are being affected by Sue Bradford's anti-smacking law. These cases are heartbreaking and are proving that the law is ineffective, having no effect on rates of child abuse or child abuse deaths, and is penalising good parents.


Family First will be releasing to the media examples of good parents being targeted by CYF, schools and police. Please contact Family First in the strictest confidence.

Please also join us in the "Great NZ Table Challenge" as we seek to gain the remaining 90,000 signatures required for a National Referendum on Child Abuse and Parental Correction.

Family First NZ is joining with a new group Unity for Liberty and other groups in inviting all concerned New Zealanders across the country to 'take up arms' - that means pens, tables and petition forms!

When : The Month of November (Saturdays, if you can do more days even better)
Where : The length and breadth of New Zealand
Why : To achieve the 300,000 signatures for the Citizens Initiated Referendum (already 210,000 collected)
How : By being available in your own communities for NZ'ers to sign the petition. Ring up a local shop and ask to run a table outside their business on a Saturday or for a few days. Perhaps a sports field - mid-week touch - flower shows - Expos - wherever there's a crowd (the possibilities are endless!)



20 October - Daily Mail - Toddlers allowed to run wild risk being violent adults, parents told

Toddlers allowed to run wild risk being violent adults, parents told
Daily Mail 20th October 2007

Curbing aggression in children in their pre-school years is the key to ensuring they do not grow into violent adults, parents are being warned. Toddlers do not learn aggression from other children, TV, video games or adults, says a leading child psychiatrist. Instead, most are naturally physically belligerent, claims Professor Richard Tremblay, from the University of Montreal.

He says children reach their peak of aggressive behaviour between 18 and 42 months. If parents fail to intervene at this stage, it could make the difference between a child growing up normally or turning into a violent adult. There is even evidence that uncontrolled aggression in the first few years is linked to criminal and drug-taking behaviour as adults, said Professor Tremblay. Professor Tremblay - who is due to present his research at the Royal Society in London today, warned: "Learning how not to be violent - which mostly takes place during the pre- school years - is dependent on both genetic and environmental factors." READ MORE HERE:

Family First Comment : But didn't Bradford, Clark and Kiro tell us that it was smacking, smacking and smacking that led to violent kids??? Perhaps a 'reasonable' smack is just what is needed! Yet more proof that the ban on smacking was ideologically driven rather than based on solid evidence and research.

23 October 2007 - NZPA - Summit to combat Maori child abuse

Summit to combat Maori child abuse
NZPA | Tuesday, 23 October 2007

ABUSE SUMMIT: Anglican minister Hone Kaa says Maori should take responsibility for child abuse in their community, and is organising a hui to address the problem.

The death of Maori children at the hands of their parents and caregivers is genocide, Anglican minister Hone Kaa says.

He yesterday announced a summit would be held in Auckland in November to tackle the issue of Maori child abuse.

He has invited Maori from the Waikato, Auckland and Northland to the summit.

The summit will be called Nga Mana Ririki, which means the Power of the Little Ones.

"Tamariki Maori are more likely to be abused and killed by their whanau than any other group in the country. It is time to stop this genocide."

Dr Kaa said there had been much public discussion, but very little action, over the reasons why Maori child abuse rates were so high.

Ministry for Social Development figures show Maori children are almost twice as likely than non-Maori children to be assessed as abused or neglected. In 2003, the rate per 1000 was 11.9 for Maori and 5.9 for non-Maori.

Dr Kaa said it was time for Maori to take responsibility for the issue and develop solutions that worked.

The hui would be by invitation. Participants would hear from a range of Maori experts, and then draw up a strategic plan.

"It's an ambitious project but I am absolutely confident in the ability of the Maori we are calling together. We converted from internecine warfare and cannibalism little more than a century ago, so I am sure we can stop abusing and killing our children."

Project manager Anton Blank pointed to the Smokefree campaign as an existing template for this type of project.

"Sustained communications and branding combined with community action and intervention services have resulted in a reduction of Maori smoking rates. We can do the same with Maori child abuse," Mr Blank said.

The summit will open with a memorial service on November 25, and will run until November 28. The service, which is open to everyone, will be held at the Holy Sepulchre Church on Auckland's Khyber Pass Rd.

Dr Kaa said politicians and decision makers would be invited to the last day of the summit, to review the plan and discuss how they might support Nga Mana Ririki.

10 October 2007 - Family First - PM Should Call for End to Death Penalty of Unborn Child

10 October 2007

PM Should Call for End to Death Penalty of Unborn Child

Family First is calling on the Prime Minister to be consistent, and call for the end of the death penalty to both adults and the unborn child.

In joining Amnesty International's call today to end the death penalty worldwide, the Prime Minister said "The death penalty violates the right to life and is by definition and in practice, a cruel and degrading treatment. It is known to have been inflicted on the innocent. It's very nature means it cannot be reversed."

Family First agrees, and therefore calls on her government to immediately change the law which allows the death penalty being inflicted on the unborn child because of the abuse of the 'mental health' exemption clause in the existing legislation.

"It is ironic that during the smacking debate, the PM argued that children should enjoy the same protection as adults - yet has conveniently forgotten this principle in relation to the unborn child," says Mr McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

"It is also hypocritical of Amnesty International to call for the end of the death penalty despite its recent decision to support abortion as a human right. They have no credibility on this matter anymore."

"Family First awaits the Prime Minister's amendment to the current abortion laws which allow, on average, 18,000 unborn children to be aborted every year."


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:

Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42


Do you think that tougher penalties should be introduced for young offenders who commit serious crimes?

See story:

Yes (2968 votes, 95.4%)
No (144 votes, 4.6%)

Stuff polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate.

It is not tougher penalties that should be introduced for young offenders who commit serious crimes. We need to be training the parents on how to raise up their children so that they do not commit minor or serious crimes.

We do not need the State interferring more in families.
We need to give the parents the tools to train and correct their children as necessary.

1 October 2007 - The Dominion Post - Police 'powerless to act' on child crims

"The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don't suddenly become violent," Mr O'Connor said.

NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

We don't need to lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12 we just need to give parents the OK to discipline and correct their children. This is years of PC gone wrong where NGOs have been telling parents not to use reasonable force to correct their children. We are seeing the results and these results will be multiplied now that Section 59 has been amended.

Police 'powerless to act' on child crims
By EMILY WATT - The Dominion Post | Monday, 1 October 2007

Children too young to be prosecuted have been implicated in more than 8500 crimes in one year, and police say they are often powerless to intervene.

Officers say there is little they can do in the cases, such as a 10- year-old who attacked classmates with a piece of timber, two 12-year-olds with 33 burglary charges, and a 13-year-old who attacked police with a baseball bat.

One Lower Hutt 13-year-old in social welfare care for sexual offences abused two-year-olds four more times while in care, with police unable to act.

Police usually rely on care and protection orders to intervene with troubled children through the Family Court, but officers say this can be difficult when many of them come from working two-parent families where Child, Youth and Family is unlikely to become involved.

Justice Ministry statistics show police apprehended 700 children aged under 10 and 7900 children aged 10 to 13 last year for crimes including violence, drugs and burglary. Property offences were the most common crimes committed..

Police say anecdotal evidence suggests young people are offending younger and more violently. By the time police are able to intervene, when the child turns 14, the behaviour is often entrenched.

Children under 14 can only be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter.

NZ First MP Ron Mark has drafted a bill that would lower the age of prosecution from 14 to 12, and introduce tougher penalties for young offenders who commit serious crimes.

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft and Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro have criticised the bill.

Police say they do not want to criminalise young people, but lowering the age of criminal responsibility would allow police to intervene and offer the help they need - before they became hardened criminals.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said police also wanted the Youth Court empowered to better deal with these young people quickly and more effectively.

Lower Hutt Youth Aid Sergeant Steve O'Connor said most children who misbehaved were dealt with effectively by parents and schools. But the small group of serious or recidivist offenders were slipping through the cracks.

Some of the behaviours seen by young children were "quite frightening", including taking knives to school and assaulting other children.

Youth offending figures were "overwhelmingly under-reported", because many police simply took the children home without documenting the incident. But if young offenders were not dealt with, they would go on to further crime.

"The reality is 15- and 16-year-olds don't suddenly become violent," Mr O'Connor said.

Mr Mark said the Justice Ministry statistics were further proof the age of prosecution should be lowered. "In four years' time they will be the graduates of the failing youth justice system, and they will become the very adults that people are bleating about being in our jails."

Mr Mark's bill is being examined by a select committee.

29 September 2007 - The Press - Anti-social behaviour plan could target three-year-olds

Anti-social behaviour plan could target three-year-olds
By ARWEN HANN - The Press | Saturday, 29 September 2007

Plans to screen and treat children as young as three are part of new Government plans to cut anti-social behaviour.

The six-year multi-agency plan has been developed by the ministries of education, health and social development and is designed to increase the number of children getting help for severe anti-social behaviour and conduct disorder.

It is estimated that up to 5 per cent of primary and intermediate pupils have problems with conduct or display severe anti-social behaviour.

The report said it was difficult to assess the effectiveness of intervention services.

However, it said "key challenges" had been identified, including "inadequate and inconsistent mechanisms for identifying and determining eligibility for services for young people" and "gaps in the availability of specialist services".

The plan proposes developing systematic screening for three to seven-year-olds within the education sector.

Treatment plans would include parenting classes and education for teachers on how to deal with disruptive children, as well as a "behaviour change programme" for the child.

A referral for mental health treatment could be included.

The foreword, signed by Education Minister Steve Maharey, Health Minister Pete Hodgson and Associate Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson, said behaviour problems were the "single most important predictor of later chronic anti-social behaviour problems, including poor mental health, academic underachievement, early school-leaving, teenage parenthood, delinquency, unemployment and substance abuse".

Canterbury University College of Education senior lecturer John Church, who contributed to the report, said early intervention was more likely to succeed.

"The critical element is parental involvement and the thing about working with young kids is most parents want the best for their kids," he said. "When their children are three or four, most parents will come on board. By age 12 or 13, the parents usually want out because they have been worn down."

It was also more cost-effective. "It is possible to have a little parenting training, which is a good influence on the children for about $4000 per case at the age of five to six," he said.

Church said that by the age of four it was possible to distinguish between children who were a little badly behaved and those with severe problems.

He said he would also like to see teachers given more training to identify children with severe behavioural problems.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the Government needed to back up its words with actions. `There are plenty of organisations out there who are working with these people and know them and what they are looking for."

He said he had similar concerns about the plan to those he had had about Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro's plan to screen all families for signs of abuse. "We need to be targeting that percentage of high-risk families we know about rather than trying to criminalise all families."

The New Zealand Educational Institute said it supported inter-agency plans because the onus for dealing with anti-social behaviour should not fall just on teachers.

nzherald - Is it time to bring back the cane?

Teachers protest at school violence
5:00AM Tuesday September 25, 2007
By Derek Cheng

Schools are becoming increasingly violent.

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It is a daily struggle for teacher Judy Firkins to manage her 5- and 6-year-old children at Jean Batten School in Mangere.

She has been punched, been struck by objects thrown at her and had to restrain children attacking other pupils in her decile 1 classroom.

"How much more stress do we have to cope with and how resilient does a teacher have to be before we get practical help with these students?" she said in a passionate address to the New Zealand Educational Institute annual meeting in Wellington yesterday.

"As a senior, experienced teacher, these children are demoralising and destroying my enthusiasm to provide an exciting and vibrant programme."

Mrs Firkins, who has been teaching for 35 years, told the Herald she had taken several blows from one boy while trying to protect other pupils.

"He just fisticuffed me and I ended up with bruises on my chest," she said.

"I have one child in the class ... I cannot physically handle him. I think he's learned that the way to cope with anger is violence, and I get worried about the safety of my children and myself in this vulnerable situation.

"And you're just wasting so much valuable teaching time."

Mrs Firkins was one of several teachers at the meeting to express deep concerns over the impact of increasingly aggressive children.

They spoke about how disruption - including physical and verbal attacks from children as young as 2 - was eroding classroom safety and the quality of education.

A New Zealand Educational Institute report based on a survey at the end of last year found that one in seven primary school teachers had been hit by students last year, and 58 per cent reported "aggressive verbalconfrontations" with students.

Dealing with it came at a high personal cost to many teachers, who have to cope with emotional stress, physical injuries and sapping conditions.

"This has become a norm: you can expect to walk into your room every day and know someone is going to make your life hell," said Tauranga teacher Graham Woodhead, who teaches 10- and 11-year-olds.

Early childhood education teacher Diane Lawrence said: "It doesn't only happen in [primary] schools, it starts well before then - the throwing of chairs, the biting, the hitting, the verbal stuff [from 3- or 4-year-olds] and younger. There has been a huge increase in the time since I've been teaching [1981]."

Union members at the meeting backed the institute's report, which endorsed a wider community and Government response to a problem that had its roots outside the classroom.

"We have to change the way people behave, we have to change the way people think, stop these kids from thinking it's okay to behave like that," said the institute's national vice-president, Frances Nelson.

She said the institute would now seek feedback from community groups and the Government on how to address the problem.

Stuff - Those WOFs for kids and parents

Those WOFs for kids and parents
By PAT BOOTH - Auckland | Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Strange but true - some great ideas which seem so simple are actually very complex.

That's a first reaction to the well-intentioned plan from Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro for what amounts to regular Warrants of Fitness checks on children from birth to five.

A WOF, let's make it clear, not only of a child's health and well-being but also the fitness of parents to provide a stable and safe environment for them.

In the light of what we now know to be life around us you can't fault the intention.

She estimates that this move could save the lives of five children every year for the first five years alone.

That would cut in half the country's terrible record of killing its children.

The Kiro plan in its simplest definition: Regular and compulsory screening of every baby's home life.

She wants every newborn baby's parents or caregivers to nominate 'an authorised provider' (whatever that means) to assess their family's progress through home visits.

Under the Kiro rules, those who refused to take part would be referred to welfare authorities who would set up an official monitoring process.

Cindy Kiro has been quoted as describing systems of 'voluntary engagement' with groups like Plunket as 'a recipe for disaster'.

She says her scheme, which she believes would cost about $5 million a year - a quote which sounds suspiciously low - has no equals anywhere. "We can lead the world in it."

Briefing papers for the plan are being written for the government's task force on family violence, which has launched a $14m campaign to fight domestic violence.

The campaign is apparently based on a 2005 report written by Auckland University researcher Janet Fanslow, who says home visits are one of the only proven methods to cut the child abuse rate.

The big doubt in my mind is just how feasible is it?

The logistics seem overwhelming.

The Health Ministry has had major, long-running problems setting up a national computer register of children's jabs - who and when.

In the Auckland region, the potential figures for the new WOF are daunting.

Samples from the 2006 census: More than 14,600 children four and under in Waitakere and more than 12,500 in North Shore city alone, a total of more than 6000 new babies each year in Waitakere, Shore and Rodney, for example.

These figures don't include statistics from the big baby-making suburbs in Manukau either.

How many staff would you need to register totals like this, then to identify and track them through those first five years?

How many trained specialists would the country need to keep up those regular and all-important visiting rosters?

Who would have the professional skills and personal abilities to see the signs of danger and to act on them?

How would ill-equipped and irresponsible parents respond?

How would capable and caring parents react to this regime?

How would welfare departments who have failed so often in the past lift their standards and their processes to cope?

And then, inevitably, there would be outcries from civil liberties and ethnic groups who would find human rights issues and/or cultural objections to what they would see as a Big Brother intrusion into so many private and blameless lives.

For me, if it could be made to work, I'd sooner that children's names are on computer files than on tombstones.

The Dominion Post - Child home-screening plan 'insult'

Child home-screening plan 'insult'
By DAVE BURGESS - | Monday, 10 September 2007

A proposal by Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro to have mandatory screening of every baby's home life is the ultimate insult, Family First NZ says.

The estimated $5-million-a-year scheme would make it compulsory for every newborn's caregiver to nominate an authorised provider to assess their family's progress through home visits. Those who refused to take part would be referred to welfare authorities.

The suggestion has outraged Bob McCoskrie, the national director of Christian-based lobby group Family First. "To threaten to refer the overwhelming majority of well-functioning parents and families - who will quite rightly resist this intrusion - to social welfare agencies is the ultimate insult."

Briefing papers are being written for presentation to the Government's task force for action on family violence, which began a $14 million campaign last week to fight domestic violence.

The proposal is in response to shocking child abuse statistics. Regular Unicef report cards, updated this year, consider New Zealand the most dangerous place for children, in terms of health and safety, out of 24 developed countries.

The Paediatric Society estimates 15 to 20 children are killed through child abuse each year.

Mr McCoskrie said the children's commissioner should concentrate on the problems that lead to child abuse, such as gang violence, methamphetamine use, violence in schools and the breakdown in families.

"But she wants to treat all parents as potential child abusers rather than affording them the respect, support and encouragement they deserve - while failing to target the real abusers."

National Party leader John Key said mandatory investigation of all children should be a last resort.

"A targeted approach would allow for more resources to be put in to those with greatest need."

The proposal calls for a database to track the development of New Zealand children, which Mr Key would not oppose. "You have to balance the intrusion of privacy over the need to try to get a resolution to an issue that is of quite great concern. In this case the issue warrants that."

But Mr Key doubted that the scheme could be run for $5 million a year. At-risk families would have to receive concentrated support from agencies such as Plunket.

Child, Youth and Family Services Minister Ruth Dyson welcomed the early intervention programme and said she would discuss the proposal with agencies.

The Press - Many beneficiaries reveal abuse

Many beneficiaries reveal abuse
By PHIL HAMILTON - The Press | Monday, 3 September 2007

Thousands of beneficiaries are victims of domestic violence, according to new Work and Income statistics.

In the first year, Work and Income's family violence intervention programme asked beneficiaries to reveal violence in the home.

Across the 11 Work and Income (Winz) regions there were 3817 disclosures until the end of June this year, with 339 in Canterbury.

Work and Income head Patricia Reade said a family violence co-ordinator had been put into each region, with no real idea of how many disclosures they would receive.

"We had no expectations around numbers," Reade said. "We just wanted to ensure we were providing appropriate support around domestic violence."

Reade said the number of disclosures, which were leaked to the Press, equated to just over one per cent of their total clients.

"In the context of total benefits (280,000) it's not a big number."

The programme was confidential, with just 1312 of the total number willing to have the information put on their record, she said.

The regional co-ordinators support frontline staff with training, mentoring and information on the range of services and programmes available.

When a person discloses family violence, the case manager refers them to services such as Women's Refuge, Stopping Violence Services, Barnardos and Jigsaw.

Reade said Work and Income could make a significant contribution to reducing family violence and promoting the safety and well-being of clients and their families.

"Because family violence is a sensitive and personal issue, Work and Income provides a supportive and safe environment but respects the client's choice about when and how they disclose family violence."

Christchurch Women's Refuge manager Annette Gillespie said the programme was proving to be a success. "One, in raising awareness; two, in making sure there's a referral path; and three, for strengthening the relationship between our agencies."

She said Women's Refuge had noticed the increase in the number of referrals from Work and Income, but it was not known whether those women would have contacted Women's Refuge themselves.

With the rollout of domestic violence screening at all public hospitals, Gillespie expected demand for Women's Refuge services to rise.

"We would expect where there is the demand there will be greater resourcing."

The programme began in all regions in June 2006, although it had been operating in Nelson, Canterbury and Bay of Plenty as a pilot.


"We would expect where there is the demand there will be greater resourcing."

So these programmes will be resourced to meet the demand. Later, as in Sweden, they will then need to keep the demand up to keep getting the resourcing. Many good families who have used reasonable force to correct their children have been ruined by this policy in Sweden. Why will it be any different in New Zealand?

24 August 2007 - New Zealand National Party - Collins Comments

Collins Comments - 24 August 2007
Column: New Zealand National Party

New Zealanders were sickened when little Nia Glassie – aged 3 – was brutalised and later died in hospital. Many New Zealanders felt that her death was, ironically, a respite from what had clearly been an unmerciful, cruel and short life. Most of us wondered at how anybody could be so evil to a child. Most of us wondered at what has happened to sections of our communities that every 5 weeks, one of our babies is killed, usually by those charged with loving and nurturing them.

It is very easy to put money into welfare and into “programmes”. It’s not so easy to understand the mindset of those who are so lacking in empathy and so devoid of human decency and kindness that they will kill a child. What is even less easy is to stop making excuses for such people, to identify and then prevent the abuse.

We were told by the proponents of the anti-smacking law that this law would stop child abuse. It hasn’t. It won’t. We were told that those of us who have smacked our child on the hand or bottom for being naughty or unruly were, at worst, child abusers and, at the least, condoned “beating our babies”. We weren’t and we aren’t. Now with John Key’s intervention, the Police are required to use common sense in deciding whether or not to prosecute – something that was missing from Sue Bradford’s bill.

We need to understand how someone becomes a child abuser - not to make excuses, but to try to stop babies being killed. There are common markers for child abuse. We know that these incidences primarily occur in what is called “dysfunctional families”. James Whakaruru, Coral- Ellen Burrows, Nia Glassie, Soleil Aplin and Olympia Jetson (to name only a few) lived their short lives in severely dysfunctional homes. The families are normally well known to Child Youth and Family and the Police. They usually consist of loose personal relationships, intergenerational welfare dependency, drug and alcohol addictions, intergenerational child abuse including child sexual abuse, criminality, poor literacy and numeracy, lack of empathy for others, despair, lack of personal responsibility and a reliance on a variety of government departments. Mix all these together, add a child, and we have a recipe for disaster.

In the meantime, a group of parents have organised a march against child abuse this Saturday, 25 August, at 10am in Queen Elizabeth II Square, Queen Street, Auckland. Indications are that the Children’s Commissioner and government agencies won’t attend. Apparently, the organisers are so politically incorrect as to call for harsher sentences for child abusers. Should abusing a child be elevated to a principal factor in sentencing? Of course it should. I’ll attend the march and you might like to be there too.

22 August 2007 - worldnetdaily - When good parenting becomes a crime

When good parenting becomes a crime

August 22, 2007

Bob Dylan's song "The Times, They are a-Changin'" accurately described the turbulent 1960s in America. Today, countries like New Zealand and Germany are embracing their own times of change as they take from parents the God-given right to discipline and educate their children.

The New Zealand Parliament recently followed the lead of many European Union countries when it made spanking of children, or "smacking" as they call it, a criminal offense. One Parliament member, Pita Sharples, hailed the new law as an important step toward a "brave" new world. "Our support will not be popular with many people ... but we are asking New Zealand to be brave, to look at the possibility of a culture where we don't hit our children."

In Germany, as WorldNetDaily has reported, families who seek to homeschool their children are battling a government that claims it must prevent "parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions." Parents of homeschooling families, many of whom are Christian, are being arrested and their children forcibly removed to public schools and foster homes because Germany claims its "obligation to provide for education" includes the exclusive right to produce "responsible citizens who participate in a democratic and pluralistic society" – a category that apparently excludes homeschoolers. The European Court of Human Rights gave its stamp of approval last year to this recent tyranny by the German government.

Even some in America are trying to emulate these assaults on parental authority. In February of this year, California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber proposed a law that would make spanking of children younger than 3 years old a criminal offense punishable by a fine and/or jail time. Fortunately, the bill did not pass this time. And in many states there are increasing attempts to regulate and restrict the growing trend of homeschooling, which seems to pose a threat to proponents of government-monopolized education.

Our Western legal heritage has always recognized that the law of nature and nature's God has given parents – and not the state – the authority to control the education and discipline of their children. Any government usurpation of that family jurisdiction is an unwarranted abuse of power that runs contrary to historical, legal and biblical precepts.

In his "Commentaries on the Laws of England" (1765), Sir William Blackstone wrote that while parents have duties to their children with respect to "their maintenance, their protection, and their education," the duty to provide an education is by far "the greatest importance of any." Blackstone further explained that a parent would not confer any considerable benefit upon his child if, after bringing him into the world, "he entirely neglects his culture and education, and suffers him to grow up like a mere beast, to lead a life useless to others and shameful to himself."

The duty to provide an education for one's child springs directly from the biblical requirement to "[t]rain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." In Deuteronomy 6:7, we are taught the necessity of teaching God's law "diligently unto thy children," and in Ephesians 6:4 to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

If a parent chooses to educate his or her child outside of the home, Blackstone explains that the parental authority is then delegated "to the tutor or schoolmaster of his child; who is then in loco parentis [in the place of a parent]." Government schools, therefore, have no inherent right or duty to educate children, but operate solely on that authority delegated to them by the parents. They certainly have no authority, as the German schools claim, to squelch "separate philosophical convictions" cherished by parents who choose to exercise their authority to teach their children at home.

Regarding discipline, Blackstone noted that a parent "may lawfully correct his child, being under age, in a reasonable manner, for this is for the benefit of his education." Of course, child abuse and physical mistreatment are not considered to be "in a reasonable manner" and are rightfully declared to be unlawful. But reasonable discipline, including spanking, should never be prohibited by law.

The Bible is explicit that spanking is part of the authority of a parent. "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15). I can still remember, as a boy, my father's words to me before he gave me a good taste of his belt of correction for my disobedience. I now realize that it did "hurt him more than it hurt me" because he loved me. As the Scriptures instruct, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).

Blackstone spoke of a timeless truth when he said that an undisciplined child grows up to be an undisciplined adult, "like a mere beast, to lead a life useless to others and shameful to himself." If we allow the state to erode parental authority over discipline and education, we will reap, among other things, higher crime and even lower morality in the next generation. Abandoning God's unchanging law is a sure way to really see the times "a-changin'," but not for the better.


Related special offers:

"Child Training Tips: What I Wish I Knew When My Children Were Young"

"The Harsh Truth About Public Schools"


Judge Roy Moore is the chairman of the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, Ala., and the author of "So Help Me God." He is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had placed in the Alabama Judicial Building to acknowledge God.

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America's basic governing principle is freedom, because social problems are best solved by a free people, and not by a centralized state or monarchy.

In a world run by humanists, failure is blamed upon the family.

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13 August 2007 - NZ Catholic: Child abuse linked to abortion mentality

NZ Catholic: Child abuse linked to abortion mentality
By Gavin Abraham
NZ Catholic (

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (NZ Catholic) – The warranted outrage at the recent horrific cases of child abuse in New Zealand are the end result of a society that allows abortion, Right to Life New Zealand has asserted.

Rotorua three-year-old Nia Glassie died on Aug. 2 after suffering from prolonged abuse. Right to Life's Ken Orr said the community is "outraged" by the injuries Nia received, and by the fact New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child abuse among members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Orr said a $14 million campaign to prevent child abuse is "welcomed as a positive step; however it is doomed to failure.”

"As a society, are we really concerned about preventing violence against our children?" Orr asked. "We are suffering from moral blindness, for we are concerned about protecting born children from violence but not unborn children.”

"If we lose respect for the child in the womb, it is natural that we should lose respect for the born child,” he said. ”Should we be surprised that if we allow the killing of unborn children by abortion, it would follow that there is also going to be violence against born children?"

Bob McCoskrie, the director of Family First New Zealand, pointed out that the way families operate is indicative of how the country operates. He has joined with For the Sake of Our Children Trust and the Sensible Sentencing Trust to devise a five-point plan to address New Zealand's child-abuse problem.

Under the heading "When our families are messed up, our nation is messed up,” the three organizations call for:

- A non-political commission of inquiry to identify effective and achievable solutions to child abuse, and examine specifically the role of drug and alcohol abuse, family structure and breakdown, race-based issues, and poverty and stress;

- An increase of support and resourcing of grassroots community organizations that are working with at-risk families and those attempting to stop abuse in the first place;

- Increased investment in and availability of parenting and marriage programs;

- Media-based anti-child abuse campaigns, in the same way road safety "shock" campaigns are run, raising the awareness of and encouraging "positive" parenting and identifying what is abuse;

- Sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially toughened to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community's disgust with the actions of people who abuse children.

- - -

With permission from Gavin of NZ Catholic, New Zealand’s national Catholic newspaper.

14 August 2007 - nzherald - Toddler's tantrum brings three cops knocking

Toddler's tantrum brings three cops knocking
5:00AM Tuesday August 14, 2007
By Louisa Cleave

Karyn Scherer: No, I don't abuse my kids, but thanks for checking
When Karyn Scherer's 2-year-old threw a bedtime tantrum, the last thing the busy working mother expected was three police officers knocking on her door.

But that's what happened on Saturday night after a neighbour of the senior Herald journalist called 111.

The police who responded said they had to check everything as quickly as possible, given the number of children who suffered harm.

Police made no apologies yesterday for responding to an emergency call to the Titirangi property from a neighbour who told them: "I can hear a child screaming ... and I've heard it before."

The call was taken at the Northern Communications Centre and a West Auckland patrol unit was sent.

Waitakere Police commander Inspector Mark O'Connor said: "It's always going to be difficult for police to dismiss such cases without going there.

"We do have a lot of physical abuse cases we actually investigate and if we ever got the chance to have intervened earlier there are a lot of kids who may have never suffered serious injury."

Mr O'Connor said the family's details would not be passed to another agency.

"We do have that process for cases we're concerned about but obviously the officers went there and weren't concerned about anything."

A police national headquarters spokeswoman said all reports were taken seriously.

14 August 2007 - Karyn Scherer: No, I don't abuse my kids, but thanks for checking

Karyn Scherer: No, I don't abuse my kids, but thanks for checking
5:00AM Tuesday August 14, 2007
By Karyn Scherer

The most extraordinary thing happened to me on Saturday night. I was not long out of my nightly dip in the spa pool with the kids, when there was a loud and unfriendly rap on the front door. "Open up," a man's voice boomed.

I scurried to the door in my dressing gown, somehow knowing instantly that it could only be the police, and that some drama must be occurring in our neighbourhood.

How right I was. There were three burly policemen on my doorstep, who shone a torch in my face and aggressively informed me that someone in my neighbourhood was concerned that I might be abusing my children.

Without getting too sanctimonious about it, I should explain that my neighbourhood is suburban Titirangi.

My street is an interesting mix of ages and incomes, but it's certainly not on the list for first-time buyers. Our display of Christmas lights is one of the best in the west, and a couple of houses have recently sold for seven figures.

I was so taken aback by the accusation that all I could muster was a "Goodness me".

I was about to ask if they were sure they had got the right house, but the appearance of my curious pyjama-clad toddlers seemed to confirm their suspicions. Or alleviate them, as it turned out.

Fortunately, my kids can do reasonable impersonations of little blond angels when it suits them, and when one of the cops explained that the alleged abuse appeared to be occurring around bed and bath time, I didn't need to say much more.

I can only assume he had kids of his own who were less than co-operative at the end of a long day.

So they left, but without so much as a smile or a "sorry to bother you", and now I am the talk of the neighbourhood.

I soon realised the only way I was going to be able to live this down was to rationalise it.

I should be thankful, I muttered to myself, that crime in West Auckland is not so bad on Saturday nights that three policemen don't have time to check if people might be on the verge of murdering their children.

It's a shame they weren't around a few hours later when some idiots went down the entire street, twisting the windscreen wipers of all the cars parked on the road - but then as far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened in our street before, either.

But then it started to eat away at me. If I really had been abusing my kids, how would their visit have helped? They didn't even come inside.

I can only suppose my name is on a blacklist somewhere, and if they get another call then Child Youth and Family will be notified.

I've a pretty good idea which neighbour it must have been.

Other children's tantrums are somehow much harder to tolerate than your own children's, and I can only assume they became alarmed by my 2-year-old's world-class hissy fits.

It's true we were once asked to leave the Auckland Museum because he was well overdue for his afternoon nap and had become tired and emotional.

He went through a phase where he would have a complete meltdown if I drove out of the driveway without collecting the newspaper.

From the moment he was born, he has been a challenge. But he does finally appear to be growing out of it.

And in the meantime I have read every child psychology book, and watched every episode of Supernanny, I've been able to manage, to equip myself with the tools to cope. Because I am sickened by parents who hit their children, or indeed beat them to death.

I have written editorials in favour of the anti-smacking law and I have been asked to appear on TV to present my arguments. I have bored my colleagues with my views on the matter, and I must admit I am now wondering if those who argued that the anti-smacking law would come back to bite good parents on the bum might have been right.

But I'm guessing it's the latest wave of concern about child abuse that prompted the police to hammer on my door.

I have a Spanish teenager staying with me at the moment, who is here to learn English. He comes from a wealthy family, and I can't help wondering what he really thinks of New Zealand, because ever since he has been here the country has been obsessed with gangs and child abuse.

The reason I mention his parents' income is because two stints living in Rotorua have convinced me that abuse is not a racial issue - it is an economic and social one.

That's not to say that wealthy people don't abuse their kids, or each other. But as far as I can tell, abuse is mostly born out of the frustration that comes with poverty, a lack of education, and poor role models. Alcohol, drugs and stepfathers also seem to be common factors. In all the brouhaha about Nia Glassie, we seem to have forgotten about Coral-Ellen Burrows.

I know from experience how quickly and easily domestic situations can turn ugly. And how neighbours can be reluctant to interfere.

In the midst of all this national angst, a new couple has moved into our street. Coincidentally, their moving van turned up the same day the police turned up and the windscreen wipers got vandalised.

I had gushed to them earlier in the day what a lovely neighbourhood it was. They admitted to me the next day they were a little alarmed to see the police car in my driveway.

They are both teachers, and one of them starts work this week at our local school, which made headlines in the Herald a few weeks ago when the partner of a teacher attacked some local kids in the school grounds with an axe-head.

Is this really what middle-class New Zealand has become?

The only positive spin I seem to be able to put on it is that at least we are not in denial about our shortcomings. And in some sections of our society, anyway, people still seem to care- and act on those concerns.

But should that happen more often? I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

* Karyn Scherer is the deputy editor of The Business.

11 August 2007 - nzcpr - The Politics of Law Making

11 August 2007
The Politics of Law Making
It is the trait of governments that don’t know what to do about a difficult problem to simply pass a law. They do this knowing that the law will not work, but at least they will be seen to be doing something. The difficulty is that not only does such knee-jerk legislation rarely solve the problem it invariably creates serious unintended consequences.

This hasty law-making also prevents genuine solutions being found as we saw last week when the government’s microchipping of dogs - a knee-jerk response to a dreadful dog attack back in 2003 - failed to prevent another child being badly mauled.

Another case in point is the “anti-smacking” bill that was recently passed by Parliament in the midst of grave concerns about child abuse following the deaths of the Kahui twins. Proponents of the bill to repeal section 59 of the Crimes Act told a disbelieving public that the law change would stop child abuse. The disbelieving public responded by saying that the people who abuse children would take no notice of the law. They said that child abusers would still abuse children but law-abiding parents would face being criminalized and would become fearful of disciplining their children.

Their pleas were ignored, even though before the 2005 election Helen Clark had publicly stated: “I do not support a ban on smacking. I’m opposed to that because I think it defies human nature”. (To view click here

Unfortunately MMP politics changed the Prime Minister’s mind: after the election, Labour needed to support of the Greens, and the Greens wanted her to support their smacking ban. The rest is history. In spite of 80 percent of the public being opposed to this blatant piece of social engineering, the anti-smacking law - which makes New Zealand parents regulated by some of the most draconian restrictions in the world - was passed by a majority of Parliament.

Meanwhile, more and more children are being killed and maimed because the government has refused to tackle the real problem and replace the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which is not only encouraging women to have children they can’t care for, but pushes a child’s natural protector - their father - away.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Ruby Harrold-Claesson, a Swedish lawyer who visited New Zealand last year in order to dispel the fabrication being promoted by Sue Bradford and her supporters that child abuse had virtually disappeared in Sweden as a result of their smacking ban. Deeply disappointed that the Select Committee ignored her warnings, in her article, “Smacking – those Kiwis must be crazy!” Ruby explains that a smacking ban may only be a first step:

With 11 000 reports of “child abuse" per year and "only" ten percent being prosecuted there seemed to be a need for more stringent laws to guarantee the success of the Swedish smacking ban. So, in 1998 - 2000 the law "gross disturbance of the peace" - which initially was drafted to protect battered women - came to include child smacking. Since then parents are being prosecuted for "gross disturbance of the peace" and their children are taken into compulsory care. The difference between being prosecuted for "child abuse" and "gross disturbance of the peace" is that in the former one had to present times and dates, but in the latter the charges do not have to be substantiated.

One would hope that the government’s hastily launched domestic violence campaign - $11 million to question sick women in hospital coupled with a $14 million advertising campaign – is not a forerunner to even more Swedish inspired laws!

In her article Ruby highlights the dangerous unintended consequences of anti-smacking laws: The ideological "child protection" advocates claim that they are acting in the child's best interest when they call for a total ban on smacking and heavy penalties for smacking parents. However, they fail to realise that they are the very ones who are exposing children to severe abuse. Normally, the vast majority of parents talk to their children and try to make them comply. A smack is usually administered when words and admonition have failed to have the desired effect. So, if a child is smacked for something that he/she did or failed to do, subjecting the parents to police investigations and subsequent social investigations and separating the child from its parents will be double punishment for the child. This will not only expose the child to severe trauma but also damage the child's relations to its parents - maybe permanently. (To read the article click the sidebar link or

Dr Robert Larzelere, a leading expert on child discipline from Oklahoma State University, also came to New Zealand to try to talk sense into our politicians. He describes our new law as “the most extreme and unproven social experiment in history”.

He explains: New Zealand’s smacking ban is more extreme than Sweden's ban in three ways. [Firstly], using force to correct children will be subject to full criminal penalties, although the government's politically clever but inconsequential concession gives police the discretion not to prosecute mild offences. Sweden's ban had no criminal penalty. [Secondly], New Zealand's bill bans the mildest use of force to correct children, not just smacking. This removes most disciplinary enforcements parents have used for generations, especially for the most defiant youngsters. [Thirdly], the required change in disciplinary enforcements will be the biggest change ever imposed on parents. (To read the article “New Zealand’s Anti-Smacking Law Most Extreme in the World” click here

Already reports are emerging of children calling 111 to report their parents to the Police after learning about their rights at school. Given that the law has only just come into force, this is undoubtedly the tip of what is destined to become a very large iceberg! (To read the article “Boy's 111 'parent assault' call unfounded” click here

Writer and economist Thomas Sowell states the obvious truth when he says, "Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late." However, by repealing section 59, our government has made the job of socialising and training children to become the hard working, contributing citizens of tomorrow even more difficult.

Meanwhile a new report from the Ministry of Justice, which shows that violent crime committed by teenagers has increased by 39 percent over the last decade, should act as a warning. Rather than discouraging the disciplining of children, we should be giving parents and teachers more powers to encourage them to do all they can to ensure young people understand consequences and learn to take responsibility for their actions and their lives. (To read the report, click here

When governments continually introduce stupid laws and useless regulations, the end result is a general malaise within the government agencies that are charged with trying to make the unworkable work. This results in the loss of public confidence in government.

The on-going fiasco over the NCEA has damaged public trust in schools. Setting traffic fine quotas for Police has seriously undermined their role. Incompetence in Corrections has plunged public confidence to rock bottom. Dumping people off hospital waiting lists has eroded faith in the health system. The on-going and blatant abuse of benefits by people who could and should be working has undermined the integrity of welfare. The death and abuse of children who are known to the department of Child Youth and Family, continually erodes confidence in that department, and the recent scandal involving the State Services Commissioner is casting a shadow over the whole government service.

The problem is that Labour has lost sight of its purpose as a government. Governments should not be agents of social change. Instead, their role is to create a framework for citizens to prosper.

In the early days of Labour’s rule, their target was to lift New Zealand’s living standards up into the top half of the OECD. That was a very worthwhile goal. We can only look back with disappointment that they did not vigorously pursue that objective for we would have all been far better off if they had!

The poll this week asks: Do you believe New Zealand children are now more protected from abuse as a result of the repeal of section 59? And: Do you have suggestions of what should be done to stop child abuse? Go to Poll

12 August 2007 - Sunday Star Times - Child dialled 111 seeking help

Child dialled 111 seeking help
By ESTHER HARWARD - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 12 August 2007

Police will tomorrow arrest a man for allegedly using weapons to beat his two stepsons regularly over nine months, leaving them with bruises all over their upper body.

The Putaruru case is one of hundreds of active child abuse inquiries around the country which police say are stretching resources and causing other crimes to go uninvestigated.

Tokoroa district CIB head Detective Sergeant Kevin Verry said the man would be arrested on Monday and would face several charges.

The brothers, aged 13 and 14, and three younger siblings - who are not believed to have been abused - have been taken into CYF care.

One of the children dialled 111 to get help after schoolfriends urged him to dob the man in.

Verry says it was one of the longest periods of unreported assault on a child he had seen.

He says out of five staff, two work full-time on child abuse cases and three staff take overflow.

"I'm pretty appalled that it's still continuing. Because of this, other investigations like burglaries have been put on the back burner because this takes priority."

Auckland City District's child abuse team head Detective Sergeant Phil Kirkham says his team has "more work than we can actively deal with".

Kirkham says it is common for families of children with non-accidental injuries to draw out or block inquiries by stonewalling or lying, meaning cases could take weeks or months to come to court.

In Waitakere District Court last week a couple was charged with wilful neglect in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering to an 18-month-old boy.

The toddler is recovering from a broken leg and arm in Starship Childrens Hospital after being admitted in July. Doctors said his injuries could have been inflicted weeks before medical attention was sought.

He would have been in excruciating pain when social workers referred him to doctors. The toddler and his siblings were the subject of a care and protection programme.

Those charged with neglect were his 30-year-old biological mother and her 27-year-old partner. The Samoan couple has a "history" with police and social welfare, and blame the boy's older siblings for the injuries.

At birth the boy was adopted by his mother's sister. He was in her care last year when he was taken to hospital with a broken arm.

The adoptive mother, her partner, the biological mother and her partner were living together in a Ranui Housing New Zealand home at the time. All denied inflicting the child's injuries and lashed out at authorities for taking the children into care.

The adults were told to attend anger management and parenting courses run by West Auckland community organisation The Project, but were defiant.

Programme facilitator Taliaoa Filipo Tipoai said: "They were those people who do it for the sake of doing it. They always ask, `When are we finishing? How many more classes must we do?'

"They were really angry when the department took their children. They were really angry."

He said both couples believed no one had the right to tell them how to parent their children.

The family arrived from Samoa about three years ago.

At last week's court appearance the lawyer acting for the biological mother and her partner asked for name suppression so friends and the church community could be told of the charges.

Josefina Fuimaono-Sapolu argued it would come as a shock to the community.

Tipoai said: "That sounds like a cop-out. If it's not a shock to them to abuse the child why do they think it will be a shock to the community who they are?"

The pair's interim name suppression expires tomorrow afternoon.

9 August 2007 - Peter Lewis - NZ rallies against child abuse

NZ rallies against child abuse
By New Zealand correspondent Peter Lewis

Posted Thu Aug 9, 2007 11:36am AEST

People protest outside the Rotorua District Court, after the death of Nia Glassie, a victim of child abuse. (Getty Images: Phil Walter)

Audio: NZ stages silent vigil for child abuse victims (PM) Anti-violence campaigners in New Zealand say they are encouraged by the support they received yesterday for their nationwide silent vigil against child abuse.

Many people in cities and towns across the country heeded their call to pause for a few minutes at lunchtime as a mark of respect to those killed and injured by domestic violence.

If New Zealand did not completely come to a standstill, as organisers might have hoped, it at least slowed down and acknowledged the messages of solidarity carried by those who did.

There was particular empathy on the streets of Rotorua, the home town of three-year-old Nia Glassie, who died after sustaining horrific head and abdominal injuries inflicted on her over weeks, possibly months.

Vigil observers in the town offered their thoughts on why they marked a minute's silence.

"It's just to try and once again encourage people to speak their hearts, you know, don't be scared," one said. "That's why Nia's where she is now, so we're just sending out a message to encourage people to speak up."

'Pleading ignorance'

A small group gathered at the Auckland Children's Hospital, where the critically injured toddler lost her fight for life last Friday.

The group included Oscar-nominated actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, who said it was time all New Zealanders - Maori and Pakeha - claimed ownership and responsibility for what is going wrong in too many families.

"I'm here to support," Castle-Hughes said. "I think it's a very important issue, that for a long time we've all kind of pleaded ignorance.

"Now I have a child of my own, it makes my heart bleed when you see stories and I think that if I can do this one little bit to support, then at least it's something."

Castle-Hughes says the national vigil will increase awareness of the an issue that is easy to ignore.

"I think it's going to be good, it's important for people to stand up and kind of just show that now that we know what's going on, [we will] face the issue head on."

'Wrong message'

But other Maori believe it is time to speak up, not fall silent on the issue of child abuse.

Te Kanikani Tautoko is from a group representing social workers and other health and welfare professionals, Allies of Whanau.

"Silence is never a solution for domestic violence," he said. "We think that it's the wrong message to be sending out."

"We think that a much more appropriate way of addressing the issue is to actually encourage people to talk, to discuss it amongst themselves, to play music - all these sorts of things that involve communication.

"It's only through exchange and dialogue that these sorts of issues can be brought out into the world of light and understanding, so that it can be known and dealt with in an effective manner."

'Taking ownership'

One of the organisers of today's event, Bob McCoskrie of Family First New Zealand, says for too long it has been easier to leave it up to others.

"I guess a lot of people say, 'Does it really make any difference?'," he said.

"I think New Zealanders, we do that a lot, we say, 'Well does it really make a difference?'

"And I guess what we are trying to say is, 'Yes, you can make a difference'. Everyone of us can make a difference if we start to own the problem, rather than sit back and say, 'It's not my race, it's not in my area, it's not my problem, it's not my responsibility'.

"I guess we're saying, 'Well that may be true, but we need to take ownership of the problem'. I want to take ownership of the problem cause I don't want it to happen to any child, whether they live in my area, whether they're my race, whatever."

That is a view shared on the streets of Rotorua.

"We can't eliminate the problem, but we can do little things just to try and minimise it," one resident said.

"I reckon just taking a stance like this, encouraging people to take the stand, maybe people might have the heart to do what is right."

Whether they agree or disagree with the silent vigil, child-abuse activists want New Zealanders to do the same thing - listen.

8 August 2007 - Future New Zealand Party - Release on Silent Protest

Release on Silent Protest
Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 9:46 am
Press Release: Future New Zealand Party

Larry Baldock, Co-leader of Future NZ, and sponsor of the Citizens Initiated Referendum (CIR) petition said he was strongly in support of today’s silent protest over our awful child abuse in New Zealand.

“When all New Zealander’s have the opportunity to tick the box on next years ballot paper saying yes to the referendum demanding the Government ‘give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ’ they should have in mind the kind of practical and useful action outlined in Five-point action plan called for by Lobby Groups, Family First, For the Sake of Our Children Trust and the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

The only concern I have is that there is a danger of any Commission of Inquiry becoming just another useless talkfest with yet more reports on what should be done. We already know from extensive research all over the globe that family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and stress are key factors in all child abuse incidences.

The last thing we need is to have money wasted by the Government on their appointed officials like the Children’s Commissioner and Chief Family Commissioner being involved in an enquiry when their solution to the problem just a few months ago was to ban smacking, thereby making good parents into law breakers and the tough job of parenting even tougher!

We should be listening those experts working at the coal-face of the problem who are already working with at risk families. We need to see an immediate increase in support for the volunteers doing a great job in our communities but with little funding from the Government. It is an outrage that these organisations have to devote so much of their time and resources every year to completing mountains of application forms to seek funding for their activities.

The real answers for us as a nation lie in point 3 of the proposed action plan.
To solve the problem long term we must rebuild a strong marriage culture to reduce the number children who are growing up without the protection and nurture of their dads.

Tougher sentencing for those committing these atrocities is an important part of justice and may play a small role in reducing offences, but if we do not start teaching our young people how to have successful long term relationships with enduring marriages, we simply will not have enough prisons to contain all the violent offenders in our society.

A media based anti-‘child abuse’ campaign would be a useful shock campaign to wake all New Zealander’s up to the reality of what is occurring in our communities, but that must be followed by an equally funded nationwide positive parenting education campaign in the media to provide solutions to those who have never had decent parental role models before the stumbled into parenthood themselves.

I am confident today’s silent protest will be another useful step in addressing our social problems.

However I believe it is essential we complete the two CIR petitions to ensure that the repeal of Sue Bradford’s stupid anti-correction/smacking law and that sensible action as outlined in the 5-point action plan being promoted today is firmly on the political agenda at next years election,” he said.

Mr Baldock called on everyone concerned to achieve a long term solution to the problem of child abuse to continue the work required to complete the CIR petitions on the following questions;

1.) “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

2.) "Should the Government give urgent priority to understanding and addressing the wider causes of family breakdown, family violence and child abuse in NZ"


Child Abuse, My Story - Opinion piece by Bev Adair

Opinion piece by Bev Adair
4 August 07
Child Abuse, My Story

Bev Adair tells what it is like to be a child at risk

I know how it feels to have a life of apparently no value to anyone. I was born in 1952 in Otahuhu, the middle child of ten children. My Dad was European and my mother was Maori. Both were alcoholics. My mother was a street girl as well.

From my earliest years I lived with violence. I remember knives, blood on walls, being beaten, being locked up in cupboards, being molested by my Dad, being used by my mother's men friends - she put me on show for them.

I remember sitting in the gutter outside the hotel waiting for my mother. When she finally came we used to hide down the back of the garden. We knew if Dad got home and everything wasn't perfect then we'd all get it – especially my mother – and his hobnailed boots could make quite a dent in a body.

When I was nine, my Dad was jailed for molestation. I was taken to the Papakura police station in a car, put in a room, and given away to foster parents. I had little contact with my mother after that. I visited my father in jail and never saw him again. Abuse by foster dads followed.

All ten of us children were separated. I lived in seventeen different foster homes and attended seventeen schools. Although there was stigma in being a Maori foster child, school was mostly a good experience for me. I had some caring teachers and I did well in sport. In fact I was a netball and athletics representative for my schools and districts.

How does abuse affect a child?

I had “shame” written across my forehead. You couldn’t see it - it was hidden deep within me. I used to hide, only coming out when I felt safe. It takes a lot of the right kind of love and care to right the wrongs in the lives of abused and neglected children. They grow up into teenagers and adults but the child within them stays shamed and hurt. We must do something as a community to love this hurt and pain out of the lives of these children who are filled with heartache and shame. Our children are paying a huge price for the fact that we are ignoring those silent screams in so many of the homes in our Nation…..

“Abuse” is a dark place that eats at the heart of who you are. I could always see this young girl – me - looking up into the faces of those all around, searching for a safe place, trying to find an adult who would help me and love me in the way that a child should be loved. Something in me died back then and I have spent a lifetime trying to get back what was taken from me: my sense of value and my sense of being valuable. My father took that from me, and all of the other adults that allowed it to happen, helped to rob me as well.

I paid such a high price for the lack of a safe loving environment in which to grow up. Somebody somewhere must have seen. “Why the silence”, I have asked myself so many times. I was just a baby - why didn’t someone save me? Why wasn’t I worth fighting for? Why didn't the adults in my home stop my mother from putting me on show and allowing her men friends to do what they did to me? Where were the Maori Elders and Whanau?

Physical and sexual abuse robs you, deep within, and you lock yourself away just to survive. You lose all sense of feeling because ‘to feel’ brings pain. You learn to hide away, never to let people get close. Your ability to trust others and believe in yourself is destroyed. You lose feeling – that’s why abused children sometimes cut themselves – it’s the only way to find out whether you are still alive. You lose the ability to love and be loved – there’s a deep cry from within that screams to be let out but you can’t because you are moving from home to home.

Seventeen foster homes. You are their foster child for a reason: they’re doing their duty; their kids need a slave; they need a companion. I was not blonde, blue eyed or cute, so I wasn’t really wanted. You learnt to comply if you wanted to stay. You had to try to be everything to everyone so they would want to keep you. But in the end you didn’t know who you were.

It’s the deep, deep pain - deeper than you can possibly express – that’s the hardest to deal with. Words cut deep. The scars heal, but the words and actions against a child, scars them for life. I had been through 17 homes and schools, terrible physical and sexual abuse, my father jailed for abusing me, divorce, the death of my daughter, loneliness, no-one to call Mum or Dad, no white picket fence, no family to love and protect me.

But then things changed and my life was never the same again. It was April 15 1973 when I had a personal encounter with God. I learnt to trust again, to realise that I am valuable, that I do have a future, that I could experience a love beyond anything that I thought was possible for someone like me. God has made the defining difference to all my choices from that day to this; my inner strength has come from that experience. ‘I AM NOT A VICTIM’. I will not allow those people to rob me anymore; they took enough of my life.

Abuse can rob us for life - or we can choose to break the cycle. That’s what I did. We have to ‘get over ourselves’, our inadequacies and insecurities – all the ‘stuff’ that life has handed to us - and for the sake of our children and the future, join together and find some real answers.

The way forward for New Zealand is to face up to the reality of what is happening. Things should have improved since my childhood but it hasn’t. Instead things have got a whole lot worse.

We have to get rid of welfare benefits - or at least have to work to receive one and then only for a set time. We have stop living in isolation and stop being so selfish. Children have to stop having children. We as a society must stand up and take ownership of what is happening.

Our communities must admit that we have a problem: we need our fathers to stand up and be fathers, and mother to be the nurturers that they were born to be.

No more welfare - get people into work and stop the drinking and the drug-taking. Our kids need adults to take responsibility for their lives and for the lives of their families. Our boys and our girls are desperate for a Mum and a Dad who will love and nurture and care for them, helping them to become all they were intended to be.

We have to stop all this PC stuff and call it like it is. Stop blaming everyone else for our problems. Instead we must look at what we can do for ourselves.

NO MORE HANDOUTS: why is it that all of the programmes that are working and making a difference in our communities are not funded (with no strings attached) by this government? Don’t they want successful programmes or would they rather spend huge amounts of money keeping the administrators employed?

I believe in personal responsibility and asking for help when needed. Our communities have to reach out to help each other and we have to intervene for the sake of our children: we can make smoking unacceptable and make sure seat belts are worn, so why can’t we make it unacceptable to form bad relationships and go from one relationship to another? Why can't we try to make better partner choices so we can make a stable caring home for our children?

Drugs and alcohol and the break down of the family are at the heart of the child abuse problem. How many more talk fests do we have to have to wake up to that fact? I don’t believe poverty is as big an issue as we are lead to believe. It is a factor, for sure, but that’s not an excuse to harm our babies as there are countries with real poverty and they don’t brutalise their children. We have to stop making excuses; instead we have to own the problem and do something about it.

Meanwhile another child is killed and maimed; why can’t we hear the cries?

I am a Maori Mum and Nana and it tears my heart out to see the devastation and brokenness of our young people and children. We have so much going for us as a race. Like all races we have our faults, but let’s own them and not be so precious and defensive.

Please hear the cries of the children. Come on, men and women of New Zealand. Come on, elders of our tribes. Come on, the Maori Party. Come on one and all, whatever your race or creed, let’s stand up and own these problems and do something about them. Each moment we wait another one of our precious babies - born with so much potential and with such a great future - is being brutalised and damaged.

Please, please hear the deep scream of our children. The silence is deafening. Never in all of our history has it been so ‘cool’ to be Maori. Never have we been so well represented in all sectors of life. BUT WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH IT ALL?

Let’s join hands

Get off welfare

Say NO to drugs and alcohol

Create a good work ethic

Stop hiding behind our culture as an excuse for not working

Get rid of the lie that the world owes us anything

Stop the acceptance of violence in our culture

Stop the acceptance of incest

Come on Mums and Dads - be the adults you are meant to be, and if you don’t know how to parent, then find out!

Our children need adults, not best friends; they need us to be their parents not their mate…

Our children need to know their boundaries

Education must become a priority

Don’t allow the so called ‘shame’ of not being educated yourself, to stop you asking for help; your children will love you for trying…

Look at who we allow near our children

Take responsibility for our children

YOU are the primary care giver regardless of the extended family

YOU must nurture your children and make sure they have the right friends in their lives…

Our children are desperate for heroes and you as their parents should be that hero. Don’t give that away to celebrities and sports people. Sure it’s nice to have them, but have you looked closely at the lives of these so call celebrities? Have a closer look – it is you who should be influencing your child …and for good!

If you would like to comment on this issue please click

NZCPR Weekly

The unspeakable question

Another Maori baby has died of abuse. Three year old Nia Glassie, the little girl who was tortured by family, finally lost her battle.

Meanwhile the 12-week-old Rotorua baby, who was rushed to Starship Hospital last weekend with suspicious head injuries, remains in hospital. The little boy’s grandfather is reported to be a senior member of the Black Power gang.

The unspeakable question on everyone’s mind is whether child abuse is a Maori problem. Given that Maori children are six times more likely to be abused than non-Maori, and that child abusers are eight times more likely to Maori than non-Maori, the facts tell us that child abuse in New Zealand is predominantly a Maori problem.

The Prime Minister and her politically correct government refuse to accept those facts. They like to blame everyone else, including neighbours. In fact, the only people who appear not to be blamed for child abuse are the abusers, with Labour having put in place a sentencing regime that sees child abusers treated more leniently that those who abuse animals.

To deflect criticism away from their failure to reduce child abuse, the government has hastily launched a controversial new programme to question all sick women in hospital about their personal relationships and sex life: Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised? Has anybody hurt or threatened you? Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't want to do?

Quite who will collect this information, who will see it, or what it will used for, has not been spelt out. Nor do we know whether this questioning represents the blatant breach of privacy laws that it certainly appears to do on the surface.

Under this $11 million feminist strategy, sick women will be asked questions that are designed to set the machinery of the state against men even though the research around domestic violence and child abuse is unequivocal: women are perpetrators, as well as men.

This week’s NZCPR guest commentator, Bev Adair, runs a communications and networking business and is passionate about her role of advocating for children and young people. Bev is a Maori woman who was brutally abused as a child. She is angry that Maori leaders have not done more to stop the abuse of Maori children, and she has bravely agreed to share her story:

“From my earliest years I lived with violence. I remember knives, blood on walls, being beaten, being locked up in cupboards, being molested by my Dad, being used by my mother's men friends - she put me on show for them. When I was nine, my Dad was jailed for molestation. I was taken to the Papakura police station in a car, put in a room, and given away to foster parents. I had little contact with my mother after that. I visited my father in jail and never saw him again. Abuse by foster dads followed. I lived in seventeen different foster homes and attended seventeen schools”. (To read Bev’s story click the sidebar link

Bev believes that not enough has been done to address the root causes of child abuse and that leadership by Maori - and by the government – is sadly lacking. If it was up to Bev, she would cut benefits to get parents and children out of the welfare trap freeing them up to get on with making something of their lives instead of being beholden to their political and tribal masters.

Last year, in response to the death of the Kahui twins, Alan Duff wrote a guest article for the NZCPR outlining why Maori abuse their children. He believes that a lack of education is a central problem: “You don’t see Maoris with university degrees beating up anyone”.

He states: “There is a disturbing anger common to far too many Maori that needs to be deeply investigated, like some permanently infected wound. Maoris dominate in gang numbers and prison inmate numbers. We have the highest number of assaults and almost exclusively own the child murder statistics. This attitude, this barbaric outlook on life will continue for the next thousand, ten thousand years if we don’t analyse it properly, if we don’t hold ourselves, our very societal model up to scrutiny”.

He describes Maori culture as being based on a “Stone Age” societal model which does not work in a modern world: “To continue with the collective, whanau, hapu, iwi societal model is a fatal mistake. A fatal mistake. For in not developing individuality we continue down the declining slope of anonymity in a collective. Of no-one willing to make decisions – especially unpopular decisions – for fear of standing out from the crowd, going against the collective will”.

And that is the core problem. Maori leadership have heralded tribalism as a cultural renaissance, when in fact it has been used to perpetrate the myth of cultural oppression and to foster separatism. In this day and age tribalism is little more than a celebration of class privilege and vehicle to unlock the riches available through the Waitangi Treaty settlement process. As a result of persisting with this outdated societal model, social dysfunction has been allowed to flourish in far too many Maori communities.

Again, as Alan Duff says: “The quality of debate in this country on Maori issues is poor, cowardly, non-analytical, and none of it serves the Maori people well. Like social welfare, which many of us have warned about for years, every government benefit takes another breath of the recipient’s self-respect away. Until they choke on self-hatred and maim and kill themselves and others”. (To read Alan’s article click here

Wise Maori know that welfare is destroying their people. They know that the Domestic Purposes Benefit in particular, has been hugely damaging to Maoridom. I have been on marae after marae where the notion of abolishing the DPB and replacing it with a system that encourages work, independence and personal responsibility, finds overwhelming support.

They know that where once Maori families were once strong, the DPB has made them dangerously weak and fragmented. They know that where Maori men were once committed fathers, husbands and providers, the DPB has caused them to be rejected and cast adrift. They know that their boys - instead having a father to look up to, to teach respect for women, and to demonstrate unconditional love – are all too often turning to gangs in their search for a father figure.

According to government records, back in 1926 when the statistics on marriage were first collected, the marriage rate for Maori was 69 percent and for non-Maori, 62 percent. Over the next 50 years marriage rates increased until by 1971, the marriage rate for Maori was 73 percent and for non-Maori, 77 percent.

But the introduction of the Domestic Purposes Benefit in the mid seventies changed all that, especially for Maori. By 1981 the marriage rate for Maori had slipped to 62 percent, by 1991 it had fallen to 50 percent, and by 2001 to 46 percent. In comparison, by 2001 the non-Maori marriage rate had gradually declined to 70 percent.

It is this collapse of marriage and a dramatic rise in the DPB that is at the heart of the Maori child abuse crisis. Maori women are now heavily over-represented on the DPB, making up 41 percent of all women on that benefit. But the trend for teenage parents is even more worrying. Maori teenagers make up 55 percent of all teenage parents on the DPB, and unless this trend is turned around, the Maori child abuse crisis will get worse.

There are solutions. Other countries have faced similar problems and have replaced sole parent benefits with support systems based on getting parents into the workforce. As a result, the incidence of child abuse has fallen, long term unemployment has reduced, school drop out rates have declined and marriage has become more popular. In fact, there is no downside except the predictable political one.

Maori leaders who are genuine about wanting to turn around the child abuse crisis should band together and call for the replacement of the DPB. They should not accept anything less.

Governments like Labour depend on the support of people on welfare - the more people who are dependent on the state the better they like it. That is why their welfare reforms are only ever half hearted.

Maori leaders will have a fight on their hands to get the DPB replaced. But if they are successful, they will be responsible for saving the next generation of children from a fate that under our current system simply doesn’t bear thinking about.

Poll: The poll this week asks whether you think all women entering a New Zealand public hospital should be questioned about whether they have been subjected to abuse.
To vote click here

[Comments received during the week on the column and the poll will be posted here]

Last week's poll asked: Do you favour the introduction of policies to encourage marriage in New Zealand?
Result: 94% said Yes and 6% said No.
You can read the hundreds of comments that were submitted by clicking here

Housekeeping: Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to others who you think would be interested. A printer-friendly version is on the website.

Don't forget that we are always keen to consider publication of opinion pieces for the website Soapbox Series - why not visit the page and send in your submission.

To contact Muriel about this week’s column please click here .

NZCPR Weekly is a free weekly newsletter by Dr Muriel Newman of the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, a web-based forum at for the lively and dynamic exchange of political ideas. You can reach Muriel by phone on 09-434-3836, 021-800-111 or by post at PO Box 984 Whangarei.

Are Parents Being Abused? - Rushdoony

Our Threatened Freedom

Are Parents Being Abused?

Listen to this short podcast by Rushdoony:

6 August 2007 - Family First - Call for Nationwide ‘Stand’ Against Child Abuse

Call for Nationwide ‘Stand’ Against Child Abuse
Monday, 6 August 2007, 11:35 am
Press Release: Family First

Call for Nationwide ‘Stand’ Against Child Abuse This Wednesday

Family First NZ, For the Sake of Our Children Trust and the Sensible Sentencing Trust have joined together to call on all NZ’ers to stand against child abuse this Wednesday.

They are asking NZ’ers to stop whatever they are doing - to come out onto the street, outside the office or classroom, to stop their car or truck and stand outside their vehicle - and make a symbolic ‘stand’against child abuse for three minutes at 12:12pm.

The three minutes represents the three short years of Nia’s life, and the number 12 is significant as it represents the average number of child abuse deaths each year. The three short minutes is an opportunity for each person to reflect on what each one of us can do to be part of the solution to our unacceptable rate of child abuse.

They are also requesting all radio stations to play Destiny Child’s “Stand Up For Love” during these 3 minutes. This song was the Anthem for the World Children’s Day 2005.

The three Trusts are also releasing the following statement:

Each week another New Zealand child’s precious life is extinguished or damaged because violent parents or caregivers will not meet or can not cope with their responsibilities.

We are sick and tired of doing nothing while our babies and children are being beaten and murdered.

We have allowed violent adults the right to silence, bail and parole, while babies’ rights go undefended.

We have allowed political correctness to get in the way of speaking the truth.

We have allowed a succession of policies over the last 30 years to diminish the significance of family structure.

We have allowed children to be raised in homes with an unacceptable level of violence, drug abuse, family dysfunction, and emotional and physical harm.

We are alarmed that with all the government groups, inquiries and Commissions appointed to oversee and intervene, we still have one of the worst rates of child abuse in the world.

When our families are messed up, our nation is messed up.

We call for implementation of the following 5-point Action Plan:

1. establishing a non-political Commission of Inquiry comprising community leaders who are already working with at-risk families - to identify effective and achievable solutions to child abuse, and examining specifically the role of drug and alcohol abuse, family structure and breakdown, race-based issues, and poverty and stress.

2. immediate increase of support and resourcing of grass-root community organisations who are working with at-risk families and those attempting to stop abuse in the first place - for example HIPPY Foundation, Early Start, Family Help Trust and other early childhood home-based programmes.

3. increased investment and availability of parenting and marriage programmes such as Parents Inc, Triple P and other community based programmes.

4. media-based anti-‘child abuse’ campaign, in the same way road safety ‘shock’ campaigns are run, raising the awareness of and encouraging ‘positive’ parenting and identifying what is abuse.

5. sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially toughened to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community’s disgust with the actions of people who abuse children.



6 August 2007 - Larry Baldock

Hi Everyone.

The recent horrific cases of child abuse are tragic. What has happened to our country that such things can happen?


And remember to take your petition forms along with you.

Not only has the Bradford Law been a complete red herring, and waste of time in dealing with this serious issue, we now have the Government announcing they want everyone to start looking over their neighbours fence to see if there are any signs of abuse happening around us.

I believe there is some merit in suggesting that we should all be trying to take responsibility for this in our communities. However the problem is that when Parliament have been so irresponsible in failing to distinguish between appropriate discipline and abuse, we will now see neighbours reporting good parents to the authorities and the development of a secret police state climate of fear.

Our second petition calling for action that will address the REAL CAUSES OF CHILD ABUSE now becomes even more relevant. We must see the Bradford law repealed and the completion of both petitions to ensure these referendums are held at next years elections are an essential part of the strategy to make changes.

With only another 100,000 signatures required before March 1st 2008 I am confident that we can meet out target. Things have definitely slowed down over the winter months but I am sure we will see more volunteers getting active again once the weather improves and the outdoor events begin again. Events like the 'Home Show,' 'Boat Show' and other festivals give us all the opportunity to present the petitions to a crowd.

I recommend you take the time to look at Family First's website and join their mailing list for up to date developments on this issue. In one of Bob’s recent updates he lists all the abuse cases that have occurred since the Amended sec 59 law was passed.

Congratulations must go to Andy Moore and his team who collected approx 1400 signatures a few weeks ago in a concerted effort in Christchurch. It is clear that there is still an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders who want to sign if they are presented with the petition.

I also want to congratulate Craig Hill and his team called Unity for Liberty for their efforts.

This organisation, Unity for Liberty, has been formed assist in completing the Petitions. They have had a successful campaign "Feet on Footpaths" in Howick last week. This has the potential to be multiplied in other centres. In fact I believe there is already a plan to expand the idea in Rodney.

If you would be interested in more details contact Craig Hill at

Warm regards everyone,
Let’s not grow weary in the battle,
Larry Baldock

3 August 2007 - Marc My Words - Child Abuse Part Of Wider Problem

Marc My Words: Child Abuse Part Of Wider Problem

Friday, 3 August 2007, 10:32 am
Press Release: Marc Alexander

Political comment
By Marc Alexander

In the wrong hands an article on child abuse could be rolled up as a weapon
If there was a standard theme throughout the last week or so, it was the issue of child abuse. Again. Yes, we are horrified by the inhumanity exposed within a family who saw fit to throw blocks of wood at three-year-old Nia Glassie in a sand-pit; strung up like a rag-doll on the clothes line; and tossed into a tumble dryer like a woolen sock. This is our outrage du jour. We’ve had them before and, despite the ridiculous optimism of Sue Bradford’s determinedly anti-family ‘Anti-Smacking legislation’ to “send a message”; it has conclusively proved its lack of worth. Abusive parents over-whelmingly ignored both her "message" and the subsequent law change. Nia's abuser's actions carried on unperturbed and brought to a halt by the embarrassment of being caught.

It’s easy for the mainstream to tut-tut. And boy did we! The public loves a cause –and if we can toss in as bit of Maori bashing along the way then so much the better. Unfortunately issues like child abuse can be quickly trivialized amid the simplistic sloganeering and thirty-second sound-bites demanded by our attention spans. It maybe hard to imagine, especially while we’re caught up in the maelstrom of anger and the media spotlight, but in a month most people will have moved on to other distractions. That would be a pity because our future apathy will condemn many more children to the same sorts of abuse. Our past peaks of outrage have done little to stem the abuse. Remember “Lillybing?” - killed by her family in 2000. What about Delcelia Witikia who was killed by her mother and step-father at age two? Mereana Edmonds, six, who was kicked to death by her mother? The list rolls on without us ever reaching the tipping point.

What we desperately need is perspective on what the problem is really about. Sadly our bureaucrats mistake strong words and a commitment to spend money on more useless inquiries and advertising campaigns to be the same as doing something. It’s the ‘just say no’ approach to violence which inspires no-one but the terminally naive and the criminal who take their cues by what is done rather than said. And we can safely put Helen Clark’s government in that camp because it is her administration that has not only presided over the biggest rise in violent crime ever, but also, in response, elevated a ‘tick the box’ mentality to every issue (aided by glossy brochures and feel-good homilies) to high art. What we are really left with is the substitution of result with spin to salve the public wounds. And if we can have the PM glisten with a tear of feigned emotion, well then… camera, lights, and... ACTION. We now have a photo opportunity.

We also have the mayor of Rotorua (where the latest of two cases were highlighted); who held a public talkfest to assure concerned residents that there would be answers, but then went on to say that he wanted to tackle the issues “in a generic way.”

Unfortunately the problem is far from generic. Child abuse is a persistent aspect of an overall violence within particular but easily identifiable families. But before we touch on what we should do, we need to know the extent and breadth of the problem.

The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services reported 1284 cases of proven sexual abuse cases against children as young as twelve weeks in 2002, which represented an alarming 7% increase over the previous year. What can you expect however, when Internal Affairs reported that 250 pedophiles were released just in 2003 alone, and that five child offenders are released each week?

Then there was the study which identified forty-nine per cent of school kids as having been punched, kicked, beaten or hit by other children; fifty-four per cent had been ‘ganged up on’; and three per cent were sexually molested.

All but one of the child homicides between 1998 and 2001 were at the hands of a family member. Between 1997 and 2001 two-thirds of all cases of infanticide were committed by biological mothers. Women’s Refuge claim to see over 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse a year. Meanwhile, Starship hospital reports that one child per month shows up with brain damage as a result of “non-accidental causes.”

And the violence is not confined to children but in these dysfunctional families, can often run the other way. Dawn Rangi-Smith, manager of Women’s Refuge in Timaru, has seen a number of cases where it is the children abusing the parents. Amongst examples include a mother thrown through a plate-glass window by her son, and another mother so ashamed of being beaten by her child she couldn’t even tell her own sister’s.

It’s difficult not to conclude that the rise in family abuse corresponds to a decline in the traditional family amongst those most entrenched in welfare dependency and a penchant for crime.

If we look at the difference in rates of abuse among children under 10 years old by sex, we find few differences, but at age 14-16 females are much more likely to be abused than males. In 2003, the rate of substantiated child abuse among 14-16-year-old females was 8.0 per 1,000, over twice the rate for males (3.9 per 1,000). These age and sex differences have been consistent over the last six years – see below.

Substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect, by age and sex, years ended 30 June ‘02 and ‘03
Age group Rate per 1,000 children
2002 2003
Male Female Total Male Female Total
0-4 years 7.5 7.3 7.6 7.2 7.5 7.6
5-9 years 7.3 7.6 7.5 7.4 7.9 7.7
10-13 years 6.4 8.3 7.4 6.6 8.4 7.6
14-16 years 3.7 7.4 5.6 3.9 8.0 6.0
Total 6.5 7.7 7.2 6.5 8.0 7.4
Source: Ministry of Social Development, CYRAS. Revised data for 2002

In terms of ethnic difference, Maori children are more likely than non-Maori children to be assessed as abused or neglected. In 2003, the rate per 1,000 was 11.9 for Maori and 5.9 for non-Maori. While the corresponding rates are not available for Pacific children, they are not over-represented among children assessed as abused, accounting for 11 percent of such children in 2003, about the same representation as they have in the child population – see below.

Substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect, by ethnicity and sex, years ended 30 June, 1998-2003
Rate per 1,000 children 0-16
Maori Non-Maori
Year to 30 June Male Female Total Male Female Total
1998 11.8 13.9 13.0 4.6 5.5 5.1
1999 12.3 14.3 13.4 4.5 5.5 5.0
2000 11.1 13.2 12.3 4.7 5.6 5.3
2001 9.4 10.9 10.2 4.9 6.1 5.6
2002 9.7 11.4 11.8 5.5 6.5 5.7
2003 10.8 12.5 11.9 5.1 6.5 5.9
Source: It must be noted that both 2001 and 2002 rates have been revised. Ministry of Social Development, CYRAS

While it may be tempting for some to roll out the Maori blame game, I suspect there will be no shortage of culprits to point an accusatory finger at. After all, guilt is often in the eye of the beholder. Apologists of neo-Maori tribalism will claim that colonialism is at fault, others will pin it on Maori culture, gang-culture, poverty, lack of inclusion, and/or the ever faithful standby's of drugs, gambling or booze. Ahh...if life were only so simple.

People forget that while Maori were responsible for the torture and torment of Nia, her rescuer was also Maori. In fact it was the mother's own sister, Louise Kuka, who stepped in to remove Nia and two of the other children (Esther, eight and Jessie, ten years old) away from the house. While i have seen many condemnations - all of which i concur wholeheartedly with - lets not also forget to applaud the actions of the sister. Now... solutions?

We need intervention not adverts - and there are a range of practical remedies on offer. First for consideration should be ensuring that privacy issues are sensibly calibrated to protect the rights of the law-abiding, not criminals. If a doctor, school-teacher or police have reasonable grounds to believe a child has been abused the police should then have access to whatever information is needed to ascertain the measure of that threat.

We can strip identified and proven abusers (including wife or husband beaters) access to their children at the time of conviction, and include a suspended sentence as a post-release condition of for life. That way even after completion of a sentence the possibility of going back to prison for even mild transgressions remain as a deterrent.

Penalties for child abuse to be increased through multiple additional charges to be served consecutively. For example in the Nia Glassie case which sparked the latest focus on child abuse, those responsible should not only be charged with assault but also with intent to kill (on the grounds that a reasonable person would ordinarily conclude that doing what they did incurred a high probability of causing death); and grievous bodily assault. Given that Nia will probably have permanent brain damage, new charges that relate to diminishing the quality of life should be introduced as well.

Those proven to have physically abused children to the extent where a sentence of incarceration is warranted should be offered sterilization either surgically or chemically.

We should dispossess our government bureaucracies of the funds they have wasted over the years with little to show for it but instead re-channel increase in funding to non-government agencies who have a proven track record of helping families most at risk. That means paring the functions of CYFS to emergency only services working with police, hospitals, schools, and NGO's. It means dis-establishing the useless Families Commission and sending Cindy Kiro, the Children's Commissioner on an early retirement plan. All the money saved from such bureaucratic nonsense can then be provided to where they will do the most good. Plunkett, Family Help Trust, Project Early, and all the many worthwhile organizations who do more on the smell of an oily rag that all the government appointed managers, administrators and seat fillers.

Another measure that we should introduce is ‘conditional welfare’ on all families identified as incubators of violence. It would work like this: Any parent who allows their child to play truant from school will have 20 per cent per child of their welfare payments withheld. The money will then be spent either on the new location where the child will be relocated to or, in the absence of any threat to the child’s wellbeing, on ensuring rent/electricity etc is paid.

These people do not have a right to misuse the money earned and forgone by taxpayers to help them. We can make such payments contingent on how they behave specifically in respect of their duty to look after their children. Acceptance of family payments designed to help care for children, will be held to the standard for which they were intended. Neglect therefore, will invite one the most appropriate non-government agency to decide how that money should be spent in future. Parents or guardians who blow the money on booze, drugs or gambling, can expect taxpayers to insist that their money be more wisely spent.

But as much as we want to deal effectively with abusive, dysfunctional families, we must also ensure support and increasing empowerment to conscientious and dependable families. The worst of all possible outcomes would be if good families were penalized.
So, will it work?

Certainly the last thirty years has shown overwhelmingly that removing the need to meet any obligations for welfare handouts has produced exactly the results we now decry. The relatively small number of families disproportionately responsible for much of the abuse, crime and violence have learned that what they do invite no consequences worth changing their behavior for. It has been our insistence that nothing be given in return that has given an incentive to intolerable behavior. Conditional welfare will promote the behaviors we want and keep in check those we don't.

The problem of child abuse is part of a much wider problem of family abuse. The real tragedy is not that there are no answers but that we fail to assert them.


3 August 2007 - Heather Roy's Diary - Child Abuse

Heather Roy's Diary

Child Abuse

At the time of writing, Rotorua three-year-old Nia Glassie lies in a coma at Starship Children Hospital's Intensive Care Unit - her doctors having found it necessary yesterday to place her back on breathing support.

Following horrendous abuse - the full details of which are to distressing to repeat - Nia's outlook is uncertain, and she is unlikely to recover unscathed.

Let it suffice to say, however, that this defenceless girl's most serious injuries were caused by being placed in a tumble dryer and the dryer switched on - it appears her pain and humiliation provided entertainment for the people entrusted to her care, much in the same way that delinquent children torment animals.

Nia's family situation was precarious: her mother is 34, her stepfather 17. At the same house were two siblings (since removed), her stepfather's brother (21), his girlfriend (19) and his father. All but Nia's mother have so far been charged in relation to the abuse.

The reaction to Nia's case - hard on the heels of the killing of Wanganui two-year-old Jhia Te Tua, and a year after the death of the Kahui twins - has highlighted a serious lack of moral fibre in New Zealand society; while responses to Nia's abuse have been strident, they have largely been both predictable and useless:

* Prime Minister Helen Clark condemned the assault - and her condemnation was duly published, as though it were news

* Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters urged everyone to become nosey neighbours, and was then joined by many others in labelling this a community problem

* United Future Leader blamed Maori: "It's time to stop pretending that the kind of child abuse suffered by Nia Glassie and the Kahui twins is not a Maori problem."

* Sociologists even blamed Rogernomics, as though it were permissible to take one's favourite hate object and blame it for all ills - apparently it isn't necessary, within social science, to engage the brain at all.

The responses to this case were so predictable that online news agency Scoop' produced an Outraged Media Release' template - an exercise in poor taste that, nevertheless, made the point that reactions to cruelty to infants and murders of children have become a ritual. It seems that, while no one expects change, it is important to give the appearance of action.

But action, not more platitudes and reports, is what is truly required. Real action, preceded by real thought - thinking on seemingly intractable problems may be painful, but there's no excuse for sloppy thinking when infants' lives are at stake.

The first point to note is that the problem of violence toward children is not confined to New Zealand - a recent UN report on child well-being in wealthy nations found that the US and UK ranked lowest with respect to the well-being of their children. Statistics from New Zealand were not considered of sufficient quality to be able to make a valid comparison and, overall, English-speaking countries generally don't seem to be doing very well.

The study also found child neglect and abuse to be more common in single-parent families than in those where both parents are present. Further, children living with a stepfather are 80 times more likely to be abused than those living with their biological father.

I don't wish to cast aspersions on stepfathers - most of whom are committed and provide stable homes for their charges - but the risks cannot be ignored. In New Zealand risk factors ARE ignored, with the protection of the traditional family structure not even up for discussion.

The abuse and murder of the Kahui twins' prompted the Government to set up a cross-Party working group to look at family violence. Proposed as a forum for free and frank discussion on real issues, this group - led by Labour Ministers - has become little more than a briefing session on what the Government has planned next.

Time and again I've tried to put the issue of welfare dependency on the agenda; each time, I've been unsuccessful - this issue has, it seems, been relegated to the too hard basket'.

The only answer that seems clear is that beneficiaries vote and politicians are more worried about alienating adult voters than about the safety and well-being of our vulnerable children. This is an absolute disgrace - a real attempt to solve the problems of child abuse would be prepared to look at any idea, even an ACT idea.

In the past, ACT has been accused of having welfare policies that are just too harsh. We have advocated for the minimum age of the DPB to be raised to 20, and no receipt of DPB payments unless a father's name appears on the child's birth certificate. Welfare dependency not only has a detrimental effect on the lives of individuals, but impacts negatively on our society as a whole. The long list of child abuse cases that we are seeing, and which continues to grow, is a direct consequence of the welfare state.

Enough is enough; the time for fiddling around the edges is over. It is time for Labour and al Parties to prove their commitment to the nation's most vulnerable children - losing a few votes next year is a paltry price to pay for saving a child's life.

3 August 207 - Family First - Anti-Smacking Law Diverting Police Resources From Real Child Abuse

Friday, 3 August 2007, 12:22 pm
Press Release: Family First

Anti-Smacking Law Diverting Police Resources From Real Child Abuse

The anti-smacking law is wasting valuable police time and resources when police should be focusing their energies on actual child abuse like the two recent Rotorua cases.

A Howick-Otara police family violence coordinator has highlighted a case of an 11-year-old calling 111 and complaining to the police after being corrected by his parents. The police say he had learnt about the law at school and was misinformed.

“The anti-smacking bill has placed healthy and reasonable discipline into abuse categories and police are now wasting time having to investigate complaints of what is simply appropriate and reasonable parental correction,” says Family First National Director Bob McCoskrie.

“The police should be focusing their energy on investigating drug and alcohol offences, domestic violence, violent crimes and actual child abuse, rather than being distracted by complaints from children who don’t like correction and boundaries from their parents.”

Similar cases have surfaced in Sweden including a recent case of a 6-year-old ringing the police because she was angry at her mother for not being given a handbag like her mother’s. Police time was wasted investigating the malicious claim.

“Although we want children to speak up when there is violence in their homes, the anti-smacking law has resulted in appropriate parental correction being interpreted as ‘parent assault’and having to be investigated. Not only are parents confused by the law, but children are too,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Good parents are being targeted by this flawed law, diverting our attention from the at-risk families we should be working with.”


3 August 2007 - Eastern Courier - Boy's 111 'parent assault' call unfounded

Boy's 111 'parent assault' call unfounded
By REBECCA PAPPRILL - Eastern Courier | Friday, 3 August 2007

EXPLAINING THE BOUNDRIES: Howick-Otara family violence coordinator sergeant Brett Woodmass has had calls from misinformed residents.

A boy called 111 after learning about the new child discipline regulations at school.

The 11-year-old turned to police fearing he was assaulted by his parents, but it turned out that he was being disciplined.

"He was engaging in offensive and obstructive behaviour and his parents intervened with reasonable force," Howick-Otara family violence coordinator sergeant Brett Woodmass says.

"The boy said he had learnt about the law at school and I believe he was misinformed," he says.

A few calls to police related to Section 59 of the Crimes Act reveal some residents are confused over the new regulations.

Mr Woodmass says there have been calls that police normally would not have.

"A father of a child didn't like his sister-in-law smacking his child on the hand," he says.

"It was deemed reasonable to minimise the child's actions to prevent potential harm."

The police investigate every case and still have the discretion not to prosecute complaints against the parent.

"Until a case law develops on the section, it is not known how it will be interpreted and applied by the courts," Mr Woodmass says.

The legislation update states that parents are legally allowed to use reasonable force to 'control' their child to protect them or other people from harm; to prevent the child committing a crime or engaging in offensive or disruptive behaviour; and to perform the normal daily tasks of good care and parenting.

But it is illegal for parents to use force to 'correct' children.

There will no longer be a defence for parents or care-givers charged with assaulting their children who claim that they were using reasonable force to correct their children?s behaviour.

As children get older, the use of reasonable force will become less justifiable.

Factors that are considered are the age and maturity of the child, ability of the child to reason, characteristics of the child, such as physical development, sex and state of health and circumstances that led to the use of force.

Mr Woodmass says when using force the parent must act in good faith and have a reasonable belief in a state of facts to justify their force.

District family violence coordinator Tim Smith says he has appointed staff to collect data of incoming calls related to the bill in the Counties Manukau area.

He says towards the end of August he may have an idea of how the changes to the bill have affected the community.

Changes to the the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill 2005 were passed through Parliament on May 16 this year and came into force on June 22.

2 August 2007 - Garth George - Weak, stupid responses to the evil of child abuse

Garth George: Weak, stupid responses to the evil of child abuse
5:00AM Thursday August 02, 2007
By Garth George

The merciless abuse of two Rotorua tots is not a scandal. That is far too mild a word to describe such atrocities.

Nor is it enough to call these a national disgrace or national shame. They are both, but the nearest anyone has come to an adequate description is Michael Laws who, writing on Sunday, described them as "evil".

He is right, but I'll go further: they are positively satanic, for only the Prince of Darkness could so corrupt a society that it could breed Homo sapiens who get sadistic pleasure in torturing and injuring their own young.

And take it from me, the Devil is just as alive and kicking today as he was in Old Testament times. He remains, after all, the prince of this world. What is a scandal are the nonsensical knee-jerk reactions of politicians and others and the ideas they come up with.

This has happened before several times, the last the furore that followed the deaths last year of the Kahui twins. But as Peter Dunne says, all that has been achieved is "a large amount of hand-wringing and navel gazing".

The stupidity of the Government's first initiative is almost incomprehensible. It proposes to have all women visiting public hospitals asked about family violence. What that hopes to achieve is beyond my grasp.

Acting Social Development Minister Steve Maharey says frontline health workers in hospitals will try to find out whether there is violence in a family and whether any kind of assistance can be given.

This is preposterous, and if those frontline health workers have a grain of sense they will not have a bar of it.

Otherwise, they'll wear it, for I can imagine the reaction of a number of my female friends if they were asked such a question when turning up at accident and emergency for treatment, for instance, of a cut finger.

And imagine what such questioning might do to a woman who has been admitted to hospital having been diagnosed with a dread disease and who is in a state of acute anxiety, fear or even shock?

In any case, the last thing the very women who are targeted by this absurd proposal are going to do is to admit to anything to someone they don't know and probably don't trust.

And rightly so. To whom do these inquisitive front-line health workers report if their suspicions are aroused? To some social worker, perhaps, who might misconstrue the patient's responses and try to interfere when no interference is necessary?

What about privacy concerns? Are communications between patients and medical professionals no longer privileged?

Meanwhile Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro throws up her hands in horror and rabbits on about the need for educational programmes. Which is all very well, except that the sort of mental retards who abuse and kill children are ineducable.

Then there's the Maori issue, for there are five times as many Maori children abused and killed each year than in any other ethnic group.

Maori Party leader Pita Sharples whines that he feels ashamed and guilty over these latest abominations but in the next breath insists - in spite of all the evidence - that child abuse among Maori is not a problem that can be reduced to ethnicity.

Wrong, Dr Sharples. If Maori are killing Maori children then it could well be an ethnic problem and it is time that he and the entire leadership of the Maori race took ownership of it.

Maori activists are always crying out to be allowed to find Maori answers to Maori problems. Well, here is one of the biggest problems facing Maori today and their leaders had better get off their butts and find some answers.

And I mean answers, because all we have seen up to now is the usual - trying to apply sticking-plaster solutions to symptoms instead of diagnosing and organising treatment for the causes. These are always much more difficult and expensive to treat but, that aside, the trouble is that most of those in political, social and ethnic leadership wouldn't recognise the root causes if they jumped up and bit them.

Things like the breakdown of families (whanau included), neighbourhoods and communities. Poverty and welfare dependency running from generation to generation. An exploitive low-wage economy. A nanny state that interferes with parenting. A disinclination to enforce the laws on school attendance. A drinking age that's too low and a drug supply that seems to grow exponentially. Continuous sex and violence on television and in movies. And a public morality that says anything goes, including open-slather abortion.

That's just some of them. And even if by some miracle our leaders did begin to understand that these sorts of things lie at the root of our national malaise, it would still take a least a generation to even begin to fix them. Then again, perhaps it's already too late.

31 July 2007 - Gordon Copeland - Band-Aid solutions not enough on child abuse

Band-Aid solutions not enough on child abuse
Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 11:39 am
Press Release: Gordon Copeland

Independent MP Gordon Copeland believes that the Government’s Band-Aid approach to child abuse represents a massive policy failure that needs to be changed and fast.

“When it comes to child abuse the evidence clearly points to the root cause as being the break down of the family unit,” said Mr Copeland.

“Fatherlessness is now endemic in New Zealand and nowhere more so than amongst Maori. Some 55% of all Maori children are in fact growing up without a dad at home. That needs to change.”

“It is actually hard to think of a recent child abuse case in New Zealand where the offender was the biological father of the child. Typically the abuse is carried out by a male who is the boyfriend of the child’s mother.”

“We need a fence at the top of the cliff approach. Ideally this would involve government subsidies for courses addressing fatherhood, marriage preparation, marriage enrichment and parenting courses across the spectrum from prenatal to teenage years.”

“Courses need to be delivered at the grass roots level and specifically targeted to reach those who most need them; especially young Maori males.”


“The overarching policy goal should be a total transformation of family life in New Zealand so that all children are raised in a safe, loving and caring environment – ideally by a married couple.”

“All of this is really just commonsense. It was clear to practically everyone except the ideological zealots that Sue Bradford’s Smacking Bill would have absolutely no impact at all on the rates of child abuse in New Zealand. The Bill is trite and superficial in the extreme and it is time to look at evidence based policies which get down to the underlying realities if New Zealand’s shameful record on child abuse is going to be changed.”


31 July 2007 - Stuff - Abused children expelled from kindy for violence

Abused children expelled from kindy for violence
By KATHY WEBB - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Some abused children are becoming so violent they are being expelled from kindergarten or infant classes at school, a Hawke's Bay paediatrician says.

Russell Wills, the clinical director of maternal, children and youth health at Hawke's Bay Hospital, said the effects of violence against children and their mothers went much deeper than physical injuries.

"The focus is on shaken babies and broken bones," he said.

That was serious enough, but a wider and deeper problem was emerging, that of violent children unable to trust adults or relate to other people.

He was dealing daily with children who had developed severe psychological problems that became permanent if not treated while they were infants or toddlers.

"By the time a child is 10 you've missed the boat."

It was becoming common for children to be expelled from kindergarten or the first two years of primary schooling, Dr Wills said.

Their parents were often poor, estranged from their own families, with little support and few parenting skills.

Violence was often the only way they knew how to react.

That spilled over into hospital wards, where parents fought and fathers threatened staff, Dr Wills said.

In one week he had had to have two fathers kept from the serious care baby unit and the children's ward.

Hawke's Bay health board's development of a strategy to tackle the region's high rate of child and domestic violence had worked so well that levels of reporting had rocketed.

Dr Wills expected 2500 Hawke's Bay youngsters would be referred to social welfare services this year, 300 of them by the hospital.

Staff had been trained to identify abuse and ask direct questions about it.

"There's a 50 per cent likelihood that if Mum is being beaten, the kids are, and if the kids are being beaten, there's a 50 per cent chance Mum is too."

Domestic violence referrals had increased from 40 a year to 120 as a result of directly confronting women.

The strategy, called the Hawke's Bay Family Intervention Programme, had proven so successful it is to be launched nationwide tomorrow by the Health Ministry.

The Napier-based Sensible Sentencing Trust announced yesterday it was creating a unit within its ranks to push for zero tolerance and tougher jail sentences for child abusers.

Spokesman Garth McVicar said jail terms for people killing or abusing their children had been woefully inadequate.

"Our children are unable to defend themselves and Parliament seems to have put this problem in the too-hard basket, and judges are ignoring the public's cry for deterrent sentences to protect our children," he said.

30 July 2007 - nzherald - Your Views

What can be done about NZ's child abuse problem?
1:26PM Monday July 30, 2007

Your Views

What do you think of Labour's chances of being re-elected?
Should players questioning referees at the World Cup be penalised?

Send us your views

The Prime Minister has today voiced her concern over the grave issue of child abuse.

A second Rotorua child - a 12-week-old baby - is in the Starship with suspicious head injuries.

What can be done to solve the country's escalating child abuse problem? Here is the latest selection of Your Views:

Let the New Zealand Herald know your views here and read online others views:


30 July 2007 - Family First - Our Silence is Killing Us

Our Silence is Killing Us

Each week another New Zealand child’s life is extinguished or damaged because violent parents or caregivers will not meet or can not cope with their responsibilities.

We are sick and tired of doing nothing while our babies and children are being abused and murdered.

When our families are messed up, our nation is messed up.

Please forward this letter to as many people as possible

Read what happened to little 3 year old Nia from Rotorua who lies in Starship Hospital at the moment

Read what happened to 3 year old Ngati from Otara, and the pathetic punishment his mum and step-dad received

Read a 5 point action plan, designed to get the problem away from Politics and political agendas, and into the hands of local communities and organisations.

YES! You can do something...

1. Download and print off the petition forms demanding a Referendum on Child Abuse , and opposing the politicians’ response to child abuse of criminalising good parents!

Pass it around the office, neighbourhood, church, community organisation – and send it in as soon as possible.


Don't let it be 'swept under the carpet' like the Kahui case.

2. Please forward this letter to as many people as possible

Our silence is deafening and our children are suffering.

No More. | About us | Media Centre | Contact Us | Support Us |

28 JULY 2007 - Family First - 5-Point Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse

28 JULY 2007

5-Point Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse

Family First NZ has released a 5-point Action Plan to tackle the high rates of child abuse in NZ.

“The recent Rotorua case which has shocked the nation, in a similar way to the Kahui case, highlights the need for drastic action in this area,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The Action Plan includes:

1. establishing a non-political Commission of Inquiry comprising community leaders who are working with at-risk families to identify causes of child abuse and effective solutions, and examining specifically the role of drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, race-based issues and poverty in these high rates.

2. an immediate increase of support and resourcing to grass-root community organisations who are working with at-risk families attempting to stop abuse in the first place - for example HIPPY Foundation, Early Start, Family Help Trust and other early childhood home-based programmes

3. an increased investment in parenting organisations such as Parents Inc and other community based positive parenting programmes.

4. a media-based anti-child abuse campaign, in the same way road afety ‘shock’ campaigns are run, raising the awareness of and encouraging ‘positive’ parenting and identifying what is abuse

5. sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially increased to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community’s disgust with the actions of people who abuse children.

Desparate times call for desparate actions,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The Children’s Commissioner denies the need for an Inquiry yet the best she can offer is a ban on smacks and wasting time and resources ‘auditing’ good families. Meanwhile the horrendous abuse continues.”

“And the politicians, by spending so much time and energy on section 59 have also shown that they are unwilling and unable to deal with real causes of child abuse. Their cross-party committee to tackle child abuse after the Kahui case self-destructed.”

“Child abuse is greater than any political agenda, will require a huge amount of honesty, and must be owned and solved by New Zealanders.”

“Our silence and inaction has been killing us. No more.”


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42

27 July 2007 - For The Sake Of Our Children - Rankin calls for an 'Honest Debate On Child Abuse

Rankin calls for an 'Honest Debate On Child Abuse
Friday, 27 July 2007, 2:24 pm
Press Release: For The Sake Of Our Children
'Children's Advocate' Christine Rankin calls for an 'Honest and Courageous Debate on Child Abuse'

Media Release
27 July 2007

Christine Rankin, CEO For the Sake of our Children Trust and Family First NZ agree that there should be an independent Inquiry into child abuse in New Zealand.

“I’m absolutely sick of it,” says Christine Rankin, CEO of For the Sake of our Children. “When you’re in the kind of arena we’re in, you wait week by week for this to happen again. You can almost count on it now.”

“It seems we can’t take it seriously. We get very upset by high-profile cases like this Rotorua case and the Kahui's, but there’s a barrier that means we can’t talk about the real issues – that barrier is political correctness.”

“The real issues are being masked. Maori feature hugely in the child abuse statistics, yet this fact is something that we’re not allowed to talk about and when I’ve raised this issue before, I’ve been accused of being racist.”

“I’m not racist. I’m simply stating the facts. Are we honest enough to tell the truth?”

“Approximately 60% of child abuse is in Maori families yet they represent only 15% of the population.”

Rankin questions why Maori leaders aren’t speaking up more strongly on this issue.

“They are leaving a legacy to their people and to this country – they deny that it is a real issue, talk around it, and any Maori leader who speaks up on this seems to quickly withdraw from their strong and courageous stance. Why won’t they fight this issue?”

“There are also no repercussions for child abuse. The recent sentencing of an Otara couple to four years each for beating a child to death is disgraceful. There is no responsibility and no consequences.”

The OECD and CYF reports consistently identify drug and alcohol abuse, and family breakdown as key contributors to child abuse. There are no consequences for these irresponsible thugs who cause untold suffering to our children.

“The anti-smacking bill was never going to make a difference. These abusers don’t even know about section 59 and they don’t care anyway. Child abuse had no relevance to the smacking law.”

Christine Rankin is asking for an independent Inquiry on child abuse - separate from political agendas and correctness – and comprising community leaders who are willing to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse.


27 JULY 2007 - Family First - Calls for Independent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse

27 JULY 2007

Calls for Independent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse

Family First NZ is joining with For the Sake of our Children Trust in calling for an official Inquiry into the unacceptable levels of child abuse in NZ.

The call comes after the horrific case of a Rotorua child fighting for her life as a result of abuse by her step-father and other household members.

“The ban on smacking was simply an admission by politicians that they could not and would not tackle the real causes of child abuse as identified by recent CYFS and UNICEF reports,” says Bob McCoskrie of Family First.

“The 80% plus of NZ’ers who opposed Bradford’s bill are not people who were demanding the right to “thrash and beat” children as suggested by Helen Clark. They were simply kiwis who were exasperated with the fact that politicians and supposed child welfare groups were more interested in targeting good parents and light smacking than tackling the tougher issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, poverty, and weak family ties.”

“The anti-smacking bill has been a spectacular failure because it has failed to identify and target the real issues. It was simply about a political agenda rather than practical solutions.”

“An Otara couple who could be out of prison in only four years for the recent horrific abuse of their three year old shows that we simply aren’t placing enough emphasis and resources on sending a clear message to child abusers that their actions are unacceptable. These type of people probably think section 59 is the main road into Wellington.”

Since the passing of the amendment to section 59, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases including:

June 2007

* Porirua mum and step-father charged with mistreating 3 children, including 5 year old admitted to Wellington Hospital with serious head injuries

* 16 month old Remuera boy dies after beating while in care of relative

* 28-year-old woman charged with murdering a newborn baby found dead in the backyard of a Te Mome Road property in Alicetown.

* Death of 22 month old Tokoroa girl from severe burns – being cared for by step-father. Claims was burnt in hot shower but 17 hour delay before arriving at hospital. Still under investigation.

July 2007

* Hawkes Bay father shoots daughter with air rifle. Convicted and jailed for 6 months

* Christchurch mum-of-two found at P Lab. Charged with failing to provide necessaries of life and allowing home to be used for manufacturing P

* 3-year-old Rotorua girl seriously ill after 3 weeks of abuse by stepfather and extended family

“This latest case is yet another wake-up call, following on from the high-profile Kahui case, that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse.”

“An independent Inquiry would be an important first step,” says Mr McCoskrie


For More Information and Media Interviews, contact Family First:
Bob McCoskrie JP - National Director
Tel. 09 261 2426 | Mob. 027 55 555 42
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