web analytics
The Standard

Vulnerable Children: The big picture

Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, September 18th, 2013 - 43 comments
Categories: activism, class war, greens, hone harawira, labour, mana, paula bennett, phil twyford, poverty, same old national, unemployment - Tags: ,

Yesterday Paula Bennett introduced the First Reading of the Vulnerable Children Bill.  There is no doubt action is needed to deal with New Zealand’s appalling record of violence against children.  However, as opposition MPs argue, it needs to take into account the bigger picture of poverty, social context, and state agencies such as WINZ being in need of vast improvement.

It was hard to take Bennett’s expressed concern for anyone that is vulnerable, let alone children, following her ongoing attacks on beneficiaries.

Yesterday Sue Bradford’s post (Beneficiary ‘impact’ demonstrates reality of Nats’ war on the poor: but will Labour under Cunliffe do any better?) reported on last week’s AAAP, Impact advocacy action in New Lynn. She describes the desperate conditions in which many low income people are living, and the ways in which WINZ is not coping with pressing needs.

I met a number of sole mums living in horrendous conditions – overcrowded, cold and hungry, washing clothes by hand in the middle of winter and bunking down with their babies and young children in cramped, pest-infested accommodation not fit for humans.  It is no wonder so many children – and their parents – suffer chronic major illness.

It is hard not to feel angry when you find Work and Income turning people down for desperately needed food, clothing or appliance grants; not informing people of their full entitlements; and leaving seriously ill or disabled people on worktested benefits.

Opposition parties will support the Bill to committee stage. As Green MP Jan Logie said in her First Reading speech, the Greens will be guided by the submissions in their decisions about whether to give any further support to the Bill. Logie argued that the Bill doesn’t look at the wider social environment, but focuses on individuals in isolation.  She said there is a need to resource families and make it as easy as possible to get help, while inequalities distance people with the least from the mainstream. Logie also pointed to the problems of social workers being overloaded with cases.

In a press release, Hone Harawira says that

“Government wants to up the reporting of child abuse, even though Child Youth and Family admit that they haven’t even got the resources to deal with their current caseload” said Harawira.

“They’re talking about vetting hundreds of thousands of government workers, which is going to cost millions in itself, without even knowing if it will actually help protect our kids. “

And they want to sack anyone accused of offending against children – no investigation, no trial, no appeal – that’s a recipe for persecution if ever I heard one, and no guarantee that kids will be better protected. “

And all of that simply reinforces the belief that government is happy to take the stick to poor families, but won’t help them by increasing the minimum wage, or investing in job creation, or backing a feed the kids programme in schools, or even letting them stay in their state houses.

“I don’t doubt that the Minister is sincere in wanting to protect vulnerable children, but it all rings hollow when her government’s only measures are all punitive.

Jacinda Ardern’s press release says that,

“We still have major concerns around the risk predictor model and will confirm our position on the Vulnerable Children’s Bill following public submissions and the select committee process.

“We also believe more work needs to be done on the wider issues of child well-being, including child poverty.

This makes similar points to those given in her speech at yesterday’s First Reading.

Phil Twyford’s speech was particularly significant.  He pointed out that the government speakers for the Bill were at pains to distance themselves from issues of poverty and inequality. Twyford argued that social context, poverty and income inequalities, while not specifically causing child abuse, were underlying risk factors.

Links between child abuse, poverty and inequality are shown in the UNICEF 2006 report on violence against children (pp.30-2). It explains that measures to counter violence against children should include the reduction of:

[…] social and economic inequalities. Governments should analyse the impact of public policies on the vulnerability of communities and their children to violence, and commit substantial investment to the implementation of social, housing, employment, and quality education policies and programmes. Priority should be given to approaches that focus on poverty and improving linkages, participation and social networks within and between different community groups, thereby fulfilling economic, social and cultural rights; …

Social and economic risk factors are also addressed in a submission to the UN, coordinated by UNICEF New Zealand.

The relationship between poverty and violence is associated with the increased stresses that arise out of poverty, with the social alienation that accompanies poverty, with reduced access to supportive services and with lack of information about personal rights and entitlements.

Addressing violence must include a focus on addressing socio-economic disadvantage.

Green MP Catherine Delahunty’s speech, in talking about vulnerable children in a “holistic way”, focused on our violent society.  She also pointed out the links between violence against children and domestic violence against women. She is critical that the Bill does not address the issue of poverty and extra vulnerabilities of many women and children trying to escape from an abusive partner/father.

Delahunty’s argument is supported by domestic violence statistics as reported by NZ Women’s Refuges.The UNICEF NZ submission to the UN, also reported on the link between “domestic (or partner) violence and violence to children”:

Violence to children is closely linked to interpersonal violence between adults.

There is a need to scrutinise the progress of this Bill carefully and critically, so that the government does not get away with separating vulnerable children from issues of poverty and income inequalities. Furthermore there needs to be on-going pressure to improve the capabilities of  agencies such as WINZ.

43 comments on “Vulnerable Children: The big picture”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    The person I really feel sorry for is James Parker. So much deprivation led him to the sorry situation he is in today. I am just glad someone is brave enough to speak out for him.

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    Prof. Sir Peter Gluckman’s recent report identified MSD as wanting evidence for their policies.

    No wonder the Tories are in denial.

  3. Ad 3

    Ardern and Twyford should stop dicking around and support this bill. Labour gets on the wrong side of this they will get minced by Bennett. Select Committees these days change very very little other than a brave little minority report. Time we put the precautionary approach into managing children.

    • karol 3.1

      It’s not just Ardern and Twyford that are giving conditional support to the Bill, but Harawira and the Greens.

      They all state clearly they think something needs to be done to protect vulnerable children, but they have concerns about the means of achieving it via the Bill. these need to be highlighted.

      Ardern is calling for a plan that gets cross party support – Bennett is rejecting that – she is the one that should be minced.

      From Ardern’s press release – linked to in my post.

      “Not only is Labour committed to establishing a Ministry for Children, a Children’s Minister and a greater role for the Children’s Commissioner, we also remain committed to a cross party approach to child wellbeing and protection.

      “While the Government has, so far, not accepted several offers from us to work with it on the Children’s Action Plan, submissions on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children overwhelmingly supported a collaborative approach to policy in this area.

      “Accordingly I have written to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today, outlining Labour’s intention to support work being done on the Plan, specifically around children’s teams.

      “We still have major concerns around the risk predictor model and will confirm our position on the Vulnerable Children’s Bill following public submissions and the select committee process.

      “We also believe more work needs to be done on the wider issues of child well-being, including child poverty.

    • Time we put the precautionary approach into managing children.

      Or, to put it another way, “Time to ditch the rule of law and the presumption of innocence.” It’s always that time if you’re an authoritarian, but hopefully not if you’re a Labour MP.

      As to poverty as a major risk factor for violence against children, yes it is and everyone knows it. But would you really want a National government coming up with policies based on the assumption that the poor are more likely to be child abusers? They wouldn’t be very pleasant policies, you can bet.

      I certainly agree that “Governments should analyse the impact of public policies on the vulnerability of communities and their children to violence…” In this country, that would result in some recognition that policies that have brought us to having large numbers of children exposed to the most serious risk factors for neglect and violence (those being: raised on a benefit; living with an unrelated male adult) are perhaps not in society’s best interest. Where that would lead us would probably also not greatly enthuse Sue Bradford.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.2.1

        @ Populuxe,

        You make an extremely good point here, however can you take a look at your conclusion?

        “Where that would lead us would probably also not greatly enthuse Sue Bradford.”

        There just hasn’t been enough emphasis on the people in our economic approaches. How humans respond and are effected have been categorically denied.

        Now your comment seems to suggest that if these effects, the impact of policies, were finally looked at, that draconian ambulance-at-the-bottom-of -the-cliff measures are the only response possible.

        You are presenting a no-improvement-possible scenario. “If the problem is looked at draconian measures will ensue; that would be no good, so lets all go back to shutting our eyes.”

        There is another option here. The impact of policies could be assessed and there could be a shift in the policies pursued toward policies that rate human factors as important.

        • Populuxe1 3.2.1.1

          Um, not me – I think you mean Psycho Milt

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.2.1.1.1

            Eek, yes I mean Psycho Milt, sorry Populuxe1, how absent-minded of me!

        • Psycho Milt 3.2.1.2

          I’m just saying be careful what you wish for. If we start to analyse what policies are putting children at risk of violence, we’ll need to figure out whether any public policies are encouraging the raising of children on a benefit and the presence of non-related adult males in their homes, and what could be done to discourage those things. I guess there are ‘positive’ things we could do, but most of the things that spring to mind fall more into your category of ‘Draconian.’ Personally, I don’t mind which category we go for, as long as we do something at least.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3.2.1.2.1

            @ Psycho Milt (got your name correct this time!)

            Yes, it is very good to keep an eye out for unintended consequences and reminding everyone of such is a good activity. I do believe that prior to this government, that part of the process regarding consequences was taken very seriously!

            Despite taking considering-the-consequences seriously, however, I do think that successive governments have focussed on quick-fix ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill type remedies, so-much-so that they have been blinded to more productive answers. (Perhaps this has been due to too much influence from certain sectors who pressure governments to keep wages and working conditions low.). Blinded, also to the way their wider policies may be creating high levels of unemployment.

            Short-term approaches such as how DPB recipients have been given a way harder time for way longer than a single unemployed person. (I have usually concluded that this must be to try and get them off a benefit so that their children don’t get to be ‘normalized’ to such.) And the draconian measures they take toward cutting assistance to those in relationships and on welfare.

            Sadly these above approaches leads to more likelihood of the type of poverty trap that leads to a cycle of dare-I-say-it ‘welfare dependancy’.

            While members of government continue to believe that people ‘stay’ on benefits because they are lazy or ‘wrong-minded’, and omit to realise it is due to some people having more obstacles than others and that their own policies are creating poverty traps, poor working conditions, lack of jobs and ever-increasing obstacles toward up-skilling, then I daresay we will continue along the track of draconian measures.

            • Greywarbler 3.2.1.2.1.1

              I think when one looks at how DPB beneficiaries were treated (I understand it has now been changed greatly), it is necessary to look at the moralistic, blaming and shaming attitudes that became prevalent when Jenny Shipley was PM.

              Just dealing with the job of assisting single/solo parents to be good child raisers, and to keep in the work force to some extent increasing as the children get older, is of little importance in its totality. The WINZ approach is based on the idea of DPB people being immoral, feckless, irresponsible leading to the judgmental model of old-fashioned cold charity.

          • miravox 3.2.1.2.2

            ” the presence of non-related adult males in their homes, and what could be done to discourage those things.”

            There’s a serious problem of making public policy so draconian, and so discriminatory that children may be in at least as much risk from being raised in violence due to the presence of a related adult male in their home because there is no means to leave.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    Dear Poorlah, past behaviour is a correlated, though insufficient predictor of future behaviour. There FIFY!

    Individualistic approach- tick
    social work overburden- tick
    women abuse children- tick
    violent society- tick

    NB: It is predicted that 50% of the youth in some regions will be of Maori ethnicity in the coming decades

    However, I’m cool with this Bill (not the bs rhetoric necessary to pass it) and if it were not for Mercy, would seek the placement of a Child Harm Prevention Order on somebody I know quite well.
    Still, Mercy before Judgement, and don’t trust the Law Enforcement agencies. 😉

  5. Ad 5

    I can’t think of anything more weasly than setting up a Ministry for Children, or an upgraded Commissioner for Anything. Purest duck-shoving. Of course poverty is about everything, everything must be done. But that’s nothing to do with this bill in reality.

    Not a time to be weak about a basic protection measure. The progressives should get on board.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1

      Not a time for macho-wanker posturing that will achieve sweet fuck all, either, so what’s your excuse, chump?

      • Ad 5.1.1

        Let me introduce you to Common Accountabiolity Platforms. The last time Labour tried anything remotely as good as this was in the Growth and Innovation Framework – which was largely economic devleopment in focus. Common accountability means everyone’s at-risk components are at risk, everyone actually has to act toegther and sign off on single plans, no new bullshit weak-ass Departments or quangoes are formed, and everyone gets to put up common budget bids – that’s what sends a ripple up Treasury and the Minister of Finacne when it comes to the real resource share. That also means Ministers are forced to work together if they are going to get the resource at the Cabinet table, and everyone’s ass hangs out in front of the media for stuff-ups.

        And then they are commonly accountable for the results.

        “The Bill introduces a new requirement for certain Chief Executives to collectively develop, and report on a vulnerable children’s plan.

        That plan must set out how these agencies will work together towards collectively achieving the Government’s priorities for vulnerable children.

        Chief Executives will have to report annually on the plan and answer to the responsible Minister on whether, or the extent to which each agency has implemented the plan for these kids.

        The plan will be made public.

        Do not underestimate the power of this unprecedented move.

        Never before in this country have the Chief Executives of Health, Education, Police, and Justice had this specific accountability for vulnerable children.

        Now they will, alongside the Ministry of Social Development of course.”

        If Ardern or the Greens had come up with that scale of cold hard machinery I would be singing their praises. What they do not need to do is whine right now. They need to see the scale of it.

        • karol 5.1.1.1

          The opposition parties are supporting it in the first instance. It is the role of opposition parties to subject government policies to in depth scrutiny.

          That’s not whining, that’s democracy in action.

          This government’s past record shows a disregard for democracy and wide public scrutiny of the proposed laws.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.1.2

          Ad, sure, that’s what the government and opposition are doing, but I was talking about you.

          • Rogue Trooper 5.1.1.2.1

            lol (sorry Ad, yet I was really enjoying your explication and confirmation) Thank-you.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.1.3

          PS: you’re joking, right? How will “accountability” fix the economic pressures that cause the problem? Is it going to stop the National Party slashing wages and attacking beneficiaries?

          • Ad 5.1.1.3.1

            No but it will do its intended job of making children safer from deviants, dorks, and childhood-destroyers. I am sure you have a glorious silver bullet for solving poverty. So go right ahead. Meantime, there’s your explanation of what the bill actually does.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1.1.3.1.1

              Here’s how “accountability” will work in practice: when someone’s employment suffers because they’ve been held “accountable”, their lawyer will point out that violence against children is driven by inequality, not accountability, and the employment court will agree, and award compensation.

              Still at least they’re “getting tough on crime”, eh? Jesus wept.

            • karol 5.1.1.3.1.2

              In her speech at the First Reading, linked in my post, Ardern agrees on the importance of the overall plan. She says Labour supports it, but will aim to revise and develop the plan when in government. She agrees that it needs cross party support. however, she says she wants it links more to Labour’s plan to work to alleviate poverty. There needs to be a targeted plan for this.

  6. tricledrown 6

    Meanwhile in the UK the libdems have finally got their policy to feed every child at school up and running.
    Research has shown their is a 20% increase in learning.
    Mean while Blame the parents is the only policy Nact have.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Clegg trying to shore up the remnants of his social democratic credentials. Lib Dems have previously opposed Labour city councillors from introducing similar programmes.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.2

      “Research has shown their is a 20% increase in learning.”

      Ya hungry there, yourself, tricledown?

  7. ghostrider888 7

    Let me tell you a little secret from the other side, cos’ the people whose abusive behaviour arising from their need to beat small children, or use them, including their own children, for sexual gratification has not been observed , are very deceptive, to others and themselves.

    • Ad 7.1

      Agreed. This needs to turn into the GCSB for the protection of children.

    • miravox 7.2

      +1 ghost. Deceptive and others are wilfully ignorant. Too quick to explain away what is staring them in the face.

      Unless vulnerable children legislation is going to deal with deceptiveness – and it can’t -, it may make kids lives worse as possible whistleblower adults look for greater proof before dobbing or keep away so they can remain wilfully ignorant.

      I’m also not sure how the legislation would define vulnerable children. As others have said there’s context to this. Some legislation already conflicts with the puported aim of this govt to keep children safe. Not just social welfare stuff, but also housing, legal aid, relationship counselling, women’s refuges and access to drug and alcohol treatment, just for starters.

      • karol 7.2.1

        I was listening to RNZ when I was driving this afternoon. On the Panel (yeah, I know), they had a lawyer interviewed who had read the Vulnerable Children Bill. He said that there would be an escalation in admin under this Bill should it become law as it is. It would be up to teachers, health staff, social workers etc, to manage claims that a person wasn’t safe to be around children. It wild involve lots of meetings etc. It would be a very costly process.

        So, basically, it would be up to the professionals to decide which “children”, apparently under 18 years, who would be designated as vulnerable to abuse.

        Then there’s also the problem that people will be designated as unsafe to be around children, without the need for legal level of proof.

        • Ad 7.2.1.1

          Survey New Zealand’s landscape of sexual abuse, child violence, rapes and molestations that never go to trial, and of those that do the miniscule level of convictions, and ask the hard question: is it still not time to act on clear suspicion – and continue New Zealand’s violence record on a world leading scale … or is it time at least to start with every single relevant government department was jointly held accountable for their safety?

          This culture shows no signs of believing what children say happens to them, so something else has to happen.

          We still (currently) have an RMA and biosecurity Acts with precautionary approaches to the environment, but not a precautionary approach to the safety of children?

          It’s time we challenged that. This bill does.

          • miravox 7.2.1.1.1

            “We still (currently) have an RMA and biosecurity Acts with precautionary approaches to the environment, but not a precautionary approach to the safety of children?

            It’s time we challenged that. This bill does”

            This bill is the equivalent of arresting someone for bringing in an apple off a plane. If you want full the RMA and biosecurity precautionary equivalent you’ll be looking at UNICEF submissions the post has linked to.

            A GCSB equivalent won’t fix it either, unless you’re going to put hidden cameras in every private space.

        • miravox 7.2.1.2

          Thanks Karol,

          Seems to me they’re not dealing with the ordinariness of reckless, stressed and plain nasty adults, in shitty situations, who have access to kids every day and that’s what the submissions you’ve linked to highlight.

          However, the Children’s Action Plan is extensive and important in many ways. But – is the Risk Predictor Model the major concern for Labour? Jacinda’s press release needed to be clearer about the issues with this. It means nothing to most people, as written, and the model is probably is part of the equation – if the data is there to safely predict at risk children, then use it (but don’t rely on it).

          Where as the risk predictor model is simply a tool, other parts of the plan actually change the direction of child protection quite dramatically without addressing the causes or necessarily creating lasting solutions.

          The biggest problems is context of people’s lives. There’s not a lot to address social as well as financial problems – poor lives, poor housing and rundown neighbourhoods with vulnerable people squashed into them, also stressed lives and ignored lives (at any income level). Funding for addiction problems and leaving or repairing failing relationships safely need to be boosted, not reduced. Current government moves in these areas have increased the likelihood of vulnerable children, imo.

          The action plan also dishes out response plans to charities and purchasing services for them (see how well this has worked in aged care). It’s a massive ideological change in it’s own right that will bring in all sorts of people into children’s lives and this is where the panel discussion you mentioned is important. No wonder the government feels the need to bring in the vetting legislation first.

          • karol 7.2.1.2.1

            I understand many people are concerned about a risk predictor approach to potential perpetrators of child abuse. The concern is that it doesn’t require a legal level of proof, but a suspicion and judgment by social workers, teachers etc.

            This quote from the Harawira pres release is relevant:

            And they want to sack anyone accused of offending against children – no investigation, no trial, no appeal – that’s a recipe for persecution if ever I heard one, and no guarantee that kids will be better protected. “

            Yes, miravox, everyone agrees that something needs to be done, and that there is possibly potential in Bennett’s Bill, but there are also many concerns that need to be looked at.

            • miravox 7.2.1.2.1.1

              I’m not sure Hone and Jacinda are talking about the same thing.

              Hone’s issue seems more specific to vetting. Clearly there is overlap. The risk predictor model, if it’s the one I think Jacinda is talking about, is more likely to identify parents at risk of abusing children, I would have thought.

              Hone’s comment is, however a good example of explaining how he sees the vetting problem. And he’s right, can you imagine the effect if a perfectly innocent person had to go about their life with this label attached? Or on children if say, a parent was accused in malice? Now that’s how to make a vulnerable child and vulnerable adult.

              Jacinda’s otoh, simply says they have major concerns about the risk predictor model – based on what? She doesn’t say. I’m assuming it’s this page of the children’s action plan

              And what’s the counter? The government can just roll out this MSD page:

              Ministry of Social Development commissioned the University of Auckland’s to consider how predictive modelling could be used to target early intervention to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect, and improve outcomes for children and young people.

              The University of Auckland’s research developed a predictive risk model for children in a cohort who had contact with the benefit system before age two. These children accounted for 83% of all children in for whom findings of substantiated maltreatment were recorded by age 5.

              This research indicates that predicting risk modelling had a fair, approaching good, power in predicting which of the young children having contact with the benefit system would be the subject of substantiated maltreatment by age five. This is similar to the predictive strength of mammograms for detecting breast cancer in the general population

              Whose side will the public be on? ‘Oh, the model can identify a few adults that can be tagged as potential abusers… collateral damage,’ they may say.

              NB – note that the model was tested using beneficiaries data. The report says it may be difficult to increase it to cover the wider community due to data limitations (see page 33 of rprt. Link on the MSD page above) – more stigmatisation and gaps in the whole programme if this is the case. That’s a big problem, I reckon. I wonder if Jacinda thinks so too.

              • karol

                miravox, I think Hone’s point about the risk of false accusations and Ardern’s reference to the risk-predictor model are linked. If a child is considered at risk, then they must be considered to be at risk of abuse from someone.

                In her speech, linked to in my post, Ardern talks about the risk predictor model then later says their concerns about this will be dealt with more by Andrew Little in his speech. She talks about the concern around the proposed new civil orders for child harm prevention orders. (about 7 mins 50). Labour will be looking for evidence that such orders will protect children from harm. The concern is particularly that overseas, no such order can be issued where there has been no criminal conviction in place.

                Little’s speech deals with the problem of protecting children, while ensuring that innocent people are not accused of being potential abusers.

                Earlier reports on the risk predictor model being used in the bill, describe the use of a database to track about 30,00 children deemed to be at rish=k:

                NZ Herald, Oct 2012.

                Ms Bennett said she was confident that the plans set out by the paper – including a Vulnerable Kids Database of up to 30,000 children considered to be most at risk of maltreatment – would work, and results would be seen almost immediately.
                […]
                The database of about 30,000 “at risk” children is to be created and accessed by health, school and social workers without parental knowledge as part of a huge overhaul of laws tackling child cruelty.

                Teachers, doctors, community organisations, Child, Youth and Family workers and others will have access to the database and be able to add to individual children’s records. High-risk adults will also be added to the database so they can be tracked and an alert given if a child moves into their household.

                My bold. So the judgement about a child being potentially at risk from abuse, will be linked to judgement about adults judged to be at risk of abusing children.

  8. Murray Olsen 8

    I can’t help thinking that action by conservative governments on the issue of child abuse have a habit of squeezing the abuse into unforeseen directions. They never try to understand the factors behind it and aim for a society where it will be stamped out. Their first instinct is to go for a police state type solution, clamping a lid down on the problem. This usually leads to some “experts” being imported, much like the doctors advising WINZ and ACC on “benefit addiction”. The Kiwi child psychologists and social workers, or a significant number of them, are all too happy to listen to these experts and we see rubbish results such as the Peter Ellis case. I’ve seen any number of child welfare reports which bear no relation to anything that actually happened.

    I do not want to see the government giving itself more power to invade our lives. I don’t think it will help at all. In fact, I’d put money on it making the situation worse.

    The real answers are much harder and go against the neoliberal orthodoxy. They recognise that society exists and aim to help build a more inclusive version, one where people’s first reaction is to help their fellow citizens rather than to call the Armed Offenders’ Squad on them.

  9. Tanz 9

    good on Bennett, she’s right re this. Not all child abuse is about poverty. Ask our grandparents, when welfare barely existed.

    • miravox 9.1

      “Ask our grandparents, when welfare barely existed.”

      No, not all child abuse is about poverty, but if I could ask my grandparents they’d say it wasn’t all rosy back then, either. They were poor, itinerant and had kids sleeping in sugar sacks.

      But at least they kept the kids, many couldn’t when welfare barely existed. Throughout Pakeha NZ history there have definitely been plenty of neglected, abandoned and ill children “suffering from the inadequacies of their parents or environment”, as the government worded it, who the education and child welfare systems set aside resources for. Start here for the list of children’s homes, health camps, industrial schools, special schools etc. and think about what proportion of kids it took to fill them, given the population. We all know there have been some horrendous abuses that have come about in these institutions.

      My grandparents eventually got state housing and in my parents day state housing, full employment, and an egalitarian society, with good public health checks through the education system and Plunket appeared reasonably important for a healthy childhood – didn’t work to fix domestic violence and sexual abuse though. That would have needed the DPB, so my mother could leave with the kids instead of leaving us to ourselves (but that was a few years away). That was pretty standard where I come from. And of course, in the worst cases of the domestic child abuse and neglect the kids that came to the attention of the authorities were trucked off to the institutions and other places. Potentially for a bit more of the same.

  10. xtasy 10

    ‘The Vulnerable Children Bill’ – as discussed on ‘The Panel’ on Radio NZ National on Wednesday, 18 Sept. 2013, on audio here:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2569736/the-panel-with-jonathan-krebs-and-neil-miller-part-2

    Listen from 09 min and 45 sec. onwards, where Jim Mora discusses this with guests Gordon McLauchlan and Jonathan Krebs, and also legal expert Gary Gottlieb, commenting on this by phone.

    It is not a positive feedback the bill gets in its present form.

  11. lenore 11

    I would like to make a plea to the Labour and Green MPs in regard to the employee screening. Please ensure that there is an independent authority set up to screen employees and do not leave it in the hands of the police and their vetting system. there have already been cases of the police red flagging people unfairly and the vetting arm (which is within the Police) not questioning the cops. There needs to be an independent group to keep the checks and balances and not leave it up to the Police!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 day ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    2 days ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    2 days ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    3 days ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    3 days ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    3 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    3 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    4 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    4 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    4 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    4 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    4 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    4 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    4 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    5 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    5 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    6 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    1 week ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere