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Child murder or protecting gangs?

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, August 17th, 2010 - 46 comments
Categories: child abuse, crime, Maori Issues, maori party - Tags:

Forget about seabed and foreshore.
Forget about rights to plants and animals.
And for godssake forget about building consents for confiscated gang headquarters!

It’s about time some people got their priorities straight.

New Zealand as a whole has to take a serious look at its atrocious and dishonourable rate of child abuse and child murder. We are so familiar with such stories in our news bulletins that we have become insensitive and unresponsive to this entrenched trait in our national character.

Perhaps the beer companies should run ads that truly reflect our national ‘bloke’ character of ogling some T & A and being a larrikin stealing beer or being all unshaven, understated and unflappable.

Imagine instead the good kiwi bloke being the one who rages against a child, bangs its head against a wall, breaks its bones, or neglects it to die in its own filth.

There should be nothing more pressing on the Maori Party’s agenda than the shameful statistics casting ugly shadow on Maori. Even as a ‘supportive, remorseful, recompensing, bleeding-heart liberal’ it is hard to take the efforts of Maori advocates seriously when they are so silent.

History is what it is. There is only so much that can be achieved by seeking amends – that you can blame on colonialism.

At some point you have to put down the taiaha and take responsibility and leadership. Leadership is not judged by how many times you have planted your arse on a paepae, or how well you can korero or how well you understand the tikanga.

It’s measured in doing what is necessary to get the necessary done and taking people with you. More so if you have obtained some degree of power in the system and the resources and spotlight that comes with it. Addressing child abuse and child murder, while appearing to be a single issue, will require many initiatives in many sectors of Maori culture and will benefit Maori as a whole.

The legacy of the Maori Party should not be waving the seabed and foreshore legislation in the air like Neville Chamberlain and rejoicing at the sop given by the Machiavellian elite – not while another child lies dying of a brain injury.

Securing building consents for gang headquarters so they can industrialise the distribution of drugs is not doing what is necessary to get the necessary done.

William Joyce

46 comments on “Child murder or protecting gangs? ”

  1. tc 1

    The MP has needed to get to grips with it’s self serving leaders since day 1….sharples has little respect outside the groups he looks after….rich iwi and gangs by the looks of it.

  2. felix 2

    Um, this should be the correct link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10665976

    Also am I reading the article wrong or is the building no longer a gang pad? Wasn’t it confiscated and sold?

    If that’s the case, what’s the problem with Sharples’ actions? (I mean in this case specifically, obviously his overall performance is severely lacking).

    Is the building back in gang hands again or something? The article is not too clear on this and if it’s not then I really don’t see the problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      He went to a hui there once and therefore it was being used as a cultural centre rather than as a drug pad? Yeah, that’s not enough of a reason to waive the law.

      • felix 2.1.1

        Are you saying it’s a gang pad now though?

        It’s not the impression I get from the article.

        • loota

          The gang was going to get around the confiscation legislation by having an outside independent party (like someone else’s trust) own the property and then lease it back to them. The legislation makes no provision for how a new independent owner can or can’t lease the property to (AFAIK). So the gang gets their pad back.

          Good lawyers, these gangs can pay for.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It’s not now, no – it was confiscated through the Proceeds of Crime laws. But it’s still not being used as cultural centre – the gang lives there again – so Sharples going to a hui once 5 years ago is no indication that the law should be waived.

  3. smhead 3

    The media is just lying again. No child was harmed, and no child has been harmed since the government passed the anti smacking bill.

    [lprent: Why all of the name jumping? As far as I can see I don’t have you on the banned list. Changing handles just makes work for us to release you from moderation. ]

  4. prosaic 4

    It’s John Key and his greedy mates who have the power to reduce child abuse and child murder by lowering unemployment and poverty and bringing back education.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      But the MP should be pushing for these things as well. They aren’t which just goes to show that they really only care about themselves and their rich mates (in this case, the gangs). In other words, normal psychopathic behaviour.

    • gingercrush 4.2

      Oh yes the lowering of unemployment (remember this is the blog that constantly relishes in how low unemployment was during the noughties) and education opportunities sure did a lot during Labour’s time in office. Are you fucking serious? Also the research shows there has been no lift in poverty since National came into power in 2008 which during a world-wide recession has to be rather impressive.

      And the Maori Party are doing something about this, its called Whanau Ora.

      • lprent 4.2.1

        It usually takes a couple of years for the poverty levels to show through strongly in any numbers. Part of this is just the timing of the stats numbers. Part is because it takes time for people to run out of resources – including wider family resources. The problem is that when the crunch hits, it starts to hit really hard and stay down for a long time. I remember watching the whole cycle in the 90’s & 00’s from where I live in central Auckland.

        You’re totally wrong – the cycle is well underway now. The earliest precursor is the soup kitchens like the City Mission in Auckland getting overwhelmed. Shortly after it is the foodbanks. Both of these are under stress at present.

        Another one are the garbage divers which have had at least a 10 fold increase in Auckland around my area over the last few years. My garbage now gets molested every Tuesday night. I see the divers whenever I go to work and whenever I go home when the bins are out.

        I’m expecting to see the jobless youth starting to do the same hopeless daft things that they did last time when they ran out of time in educational institutions. Ask anyone who was in their early-20’s and unemployed in mid-90’s exactly how helpless they felt (Lyn reminds me frequently). Those effects travel down the decades.

        My mother says that she can still see the effects from the multiple deaths of the small-town recessions down in Rotorua. She works at the woman refuge, and sees the intergenerational effects.

        Frankly you’re talking about something that you don’t seem to understand too well..

        • gingercrush

          You’re totally wrong the cycle is well underway now. The earliest precursor is the soup kitchens like the City Mission in Auckland getting overwhelmed. Shortly after it is the foodbanks. Both of these are under stress at present.

          When are they not stressed? Do you really think the gross inflation of food prices and the accumulation of personal debt magically made such services disappear? I don’t think so. There were numerous stories throughout Labour’s time in office of such services being under pressure.

          • lprent

            Yes, you saw a lot of stories in the early 00’s and very few later on. But you’re miscalculating the lag effects (yet) again.

            Need I say more? Try and find the annual stories about overwhelmed social services after 2004 or so when the unemployment rate finally dropped. If you go back to 1991 and the really harsh benefit cuts by National with the consequent artificial recession, you’ll find it took a couple of years before those social services started to get desperate

            • loota

              Social services desperation should be pretty clear, oh, roughly two months before the General Election.

            • mcflock

              snap about the lag – we’ve only just received the detailed 2009 datasets, and begun work on them for pre-publication client vetting at the end of the year. If we’re lucky, some of the publications will be publicly available by march 2011.

        • Lanthanide

          In CHCH I’ve never seen garbage divers.

          My flatmate has just left for Auckland, and his first update on Facebook once he arrived was commenting on the garbage divers on rubbish collection day.

        • B

          You are right – theres been a massive increase in food parcels and people seeking help for debt in West Auck as well. It is almost impossible to get out of the crushing debt people here are trapped in. Most I see are sole parents trying to feed their children on $40 – $80 per week because of the debt they are servicing. A lot of this debt is to WINZ. They have had to borrow for basic nessecities. And a lot is to loan sharks. Some borrow to pay their bills. WINZ turns them away as theres nothing left they are entitled to – yet they cant live on the benefit at the level it is at. And there are no jobs. Children are going without right now and its only getting worse- so what kind of parenting is going to happen under the constant unrelenting fear and stress of poverty? Not even the best parent can be at their most nurturing under these circumstances. (Not to say that poverty is the sole cause of abuse- but parents who already tend towards violence are more likely to act it out under stress) Children do pay in the end for government policies – no matter how many times the National Party repeats their “individual responsibility” mantra

          • just saying

            It always seems people are unable or unwilling to admit to the debilitating and potentially character changing effects of unrelenting stress, and powerlessness from any source. Being the designated ‘bottom of the heap’ and living with internalised on top of external predjuice and derision can only compound the effects.

            I can’t help thinking that there is an element of a self-righteous desire to further humiliate Maori in some of the demands for them to ‘own’ the problem, and ‘take responsibility’. All colonised peoples have higher rates of all the worst social indicators. I don’t see how a racial ‘naming and shaming’ approach can ever lead to improving problems related to ethnic humiliation. New Zealand needs to own the problem, Maori leaders and their detractors alike. And take responsibility for changing the causes.

            • B

              Good point. Look anywhere there are colonised or disadvantaged people and you will find they are worse off than the dominant ethnicity and have corresponding higher rates of violence. Blaming a ‘race’ for these issues is pointless. Deal with the offenders and ensure future generations do not repeat the cycle by working towards EQUITY.

      • Ron 4.2.2

        Tariana Turia took the time at the Nelson Whanau Ora launch to berate a Family Start speaker for their policy of reporting child abuse where they discovered it. “I was shocked to discover’ she said of the Family Start policy. Never mind that it’s the law. never mind that within families is where this abuse occurs. The woman and her party are morally bankrupt filth.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.3


        So, yeah, at a guess I’d say that there has been an increase in poverty under NACT. But, then, Jonkey did say that’s what he wanted.

      • prosaic 4.2.4

        Yes, I am “fucking serious.” Child abuse is one of those undesirables–along with addiction, mental illness, violence, crime and incarceration–that is always lower in countries with a smaller gap between rich and poor–countries with greater equality. Parents don’t abuse and murder their kids because they are sadists or psychopaths. It is a result of extreme stress, the kind of stress the likes of most of us cannot imagine and will never have to.

  5. Rex Widerstrom 5

    The Maori Party’s list of election policies certainly acknowledges the need to address poverty and social decay and to support children in various ways.

    But nowhere does it even acknowledge that the problem of abuse exists, that it is being perpetuated within whanau, and that addressing inequality is only a long term solution.

    The Party needs to say exactly what Mr Joyces has said in this excellent piece. And then it needs to start attacking the immediate problem. That begins with an acknowledgement of fault (not on the part of the Party but amongst Maori people) and a clear message that, in the view of kaumatua, “it’s not okay”.

    • Cnr Joe (sniping) 5.1

      From my experience maori whanau have a loose system of dealing with exposed abuse ‘in-house’.
      This was the cause of a run-in I had with an east coast kuia during the Para Matchitt case.
      Perhaps this could be the unspoken policy of the MP?

      • Rex Widerstrom 5.1.1

        From my experience through my ex-partner’s whanau it’s not even worthy of being called a “loose system”… it’s entirely ad hoc and amounts to disapproval which may or may not be acted upon and, if so, in varying ways. As such it’s no better (or worse) than any other culture’s way of dealing with the problem.

        And whatever the “system” may be, it’s clearly ineffectual judging by the number of battered, abused and dead little Maori children paraded almost daily through our newspapers and across our TV screens.

        This is something Aboriginal culture is also struggling to come to terms with but it has the benefit of strong leaders like Noel Pearson who aren’t afraid of admitting it’s a problem, that it’s worse in (but by no means unique to) Aboriginal society, and then advancing a raft of policies to comabt it in both the short and long term.

        The Maori Party could take a leaf out of Pearson’s book. Starting with acknowledging that their people have this problem disproportionately to anyone else… even if the comparative cohort is subsets of other cultures with similar levels of poverty etc.

    • prosaic 5.2

      “‘Only’ a long term solution”?? Oh, forget it then, keep making the rich (white) richer and the poor (brown) poorer, add in some more ambulances at the bottom of the cliff, such as Whanau Ora and keep pissing around with piecemeal Paula Bennett bullshit. That “never shake a baby” tv ad has really worked, hasn’t it. You actually stated that child abuse/murder is the “fault” of Maori people. What were Maori child abuse/murder rates before European settlers stole/destroyed everything they had and fucked them over repeatedly for the next 200 years? And for Australian Aborigines? An acknowledgement of the problem and of which groups it predominantly affects–and why–would be useful, as would identifying obvious and real solutions. Saying whose “fault” it is is a disgusting shirking of all New Zealanders’ responsibilities.

      • loota 5.2.1

        Perhaps I read Rex’s comments wrong, but I think he was pointing to societal inequality as the major ‘fault’ contributing to CAN and that the only real long term solution is to reduce societal inequality – surely a responsibility of the country and of all NZ’ers as you imply.

        Identifying and targetting inequality appears to fall under your request for “obvious and real solutions”.

        • prosaic

          Or perhaps I did. He said, “addressing inequality is only a long term solution”–the ‘only’ suggests there are more important solutions than equality and, in this case, they will be the short term solutions. Then later he says, “The Party needs…to start attacking the immediate problem. That begins with an acknowledgement of fault… amongst Maori people)…” I don’t really get your interpretation from that but… BTW, what is CAN?

          • Rex Widerstrom

            Yes, prosaic, your interpretation is broadly correct. If you’re a child living in a home in which you’re being beaten or abused then there are more important things affecting your immediate well-being than the best of intentions vis a viz bringing about long term equity.

            “Only” having polices that offer long term solutions to protecting children is an abject failure of policy.

            I strongly support moves toward greater equity, but looking to the horizon while ignoring the carnage at your feet, as the Maori Party appear to be doing, is the “disgusting shirking of responsibilities”… as is excusing child abuse by blaming colonialism.

            Never mind going back to pre-colonial days. Go back a few generations and see what the Maori child abuse figures were then… and that’s prior to proper acknowledgement of the place of Te Tiriti and moves to redress past injustices. That generation of parents faced all the issues of this generation and then some. But they weren’t torturing their offspring in anything like similar numbers. The problem is attitudinal, and relatively recent.

            I’ve been dirt poor and I didn’t beat my children. So are a lot of other people. Saying “I stuck my toddler in a dryer because of the Pakeha invasion in the 19th century” is just pathetic excuse-making by pathetic excuses for human beings.

            Aborigines were arguably greater victims of colonialism and are still suffering as a result. But that hasn’t stopped their community leaders acknowledging child abuse is not an acceptable response – indeed not a response at all – and that the solution lies with Aboriginal communities and leadership from elders and not, as you so aptly term it, “piecemeal Paula Bennett bullshit”.

            My perspective, BTW, is informed by being father to four part-Maori children and, as a result, having the privilege of discussing with many kaumatua the myriad issues of raising a child. Doesn’t make me an expert, but nor does it make me an ignoranus.

            edit: CAN = child abuse and neglect.

      • comedy 5.2.2

        ‘What were Maori child abuse/murder rates before European settlers stole/destroyed everything they had and fucked them over repeatedly for the next 200 years?’

        [deleted. your racist bigotry won’t be tolerated]

        • prosaic

          How is Maori cannabalism of their enemies relevant here? And how is it that that comment wasn’t moderated out and you banned? You are obscene, not funny.

      • Rex Widerstrom 5.2.3

        You actually stated that child abuse/murder is the “fault’ of Maori people.

        No, I didn’t, and I object to your characterising the comment that way because that is not what I believe at all. It’s a subtle distinction but an important one.

        Child abuse and murder is statistically more prevalent amongst Maori people but it is the fault only of the abusers, not of all Maori.

        Smililarly, statistically speaking the majority of paedophiles are white middle class males. To point this out, to suggest that whatever commonality links them needs to be investigated and addressed, and to argue that those who offend in that way need to accept fault is not saying that all middle class white men are paedophiles, or that somehow all persons falling into this group are to blame for that form of abuse.

        • prosaic

          Ok, your comment that there needs to be “an acknowledgement of fault…amongst Maori people” sounds like you are saying it is the fault of Maori people, rather than of abusers. I don’t think I ‘characterised’ your comment that way–that’s what your comment actually said. I accept fully that that’s not what you believe, perhaps it was just not clearly enough expressed. Likewise, I did not mean to imply that child abuse is the ‘fault’ of colonisers or colonisation. And I do not think there is any ‘excuse’ for abusing children. Looking at context is not making ‘excuses’. (I also think it is useful in dealing with sexual abuse to consider that most pedophiles were themselves sexually abused, mostly as children). I tried to make the point that I don’t think it is useful, or a representation of reality, to say that anyone or any group or any process is ‘at fault’. ‘Fault’ is just not a useful concept here. If it is indeed contributed to by inequality (which wealthy and white people have benefitted from at the expense of poor and brown people) then all NZers are responsible for finding solutions to this problem. And I really don’t think that “it is the fault only of the abusers”–yes it’s their fault in a narrow sense but we need to look more broadly at factors contributing to abuser’s situations and actions. And it’s not just about being poor either. I take your point about abused children needing immediate solutions and this is what statutory child protection services are for and they simply don’t have the resources to protect these children. They are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff with a minister who is much more concerned with her own PR than with finding real solutions to child abuse–I have to conclude this because to me the answers are out there and are obvious and are simply not transferred into policy outside of the MSD (ie into economic policy) but instead we get Whanau Ora and other ‘ambulances’ added to the fleet. And meanwhile babies keep getting killed. Yes, the Maori community should show leadership and try to stop this–but what exactly should the Maori Party do? I think they should advocate for fair economic policy. And of course you are not an ignoramus.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            Fair enough prosaic. We’re basically on the same page I think, though I’m probably less convinced than you of the relative effect of external factors (poverty etc, though these undoubtedly do exert an influence) vs cultural factors, and it is these latter factors for which I was suggesting Maori need to accept fault; for instance the more patriarchal structures (and this is one of the chief factors Aboriginal elders are attacking in their efforts to reduce abuse).

            There’s no doubt poverty and inequality breeds violence, but the fact that it does so disproportionally in Maori suggests other factors at work.

            Don’t get me wrong, I commend the Maori Party for aiming to reduce inequality, just as I do anyone else working towards this end. But I don’t see anything about immediate funding for intervention in at-risk families; for culturally specific anti-violence programs, and similar right-here-right-now solutions.

            Australian Aborigines have a very effective restorative jutice programme going in some parts of the country, in which the macho, violent culture of their young men is confronted head on – by women, by their elders, and by their victims. It’s dramatically effective, but happens only because of efforts of a few academics and activists. Aborigines don’t have their own party; Maori do, and I feel it could be doing more in the short term.

            Though in fairness I think their prison proposals do encompass this sort of thing, but by the time the offender reaches prison it’s too late for the child.

  6. Ron 6

    Tarian Turia took the time at the Nelson Whanau Ora launch to berate a Family Start speaker for their policy of reporting child abuse where they discovered it. “I was shocked to discover” she said of the Family Start policy. Never mind that it’s the law. never mind that within families is where this abuse occurs. The woman and her party are morally bankrupt filth.

    • loota 6.1

      The woman and her party are morally bankrupt filth.

      I found most of your post unlikely but this was a great line of imagery. I hope someone uses it in the House sometime.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Got link there Ron?

    • Carol 6.3

      Actually, IMO we need to know more on where Turia is coming from on this. There is widespread belief in indigenous communities (including Maori, Aussie Koori & Torres Strait Islanders, etc), that the state welfare system has in-built racist systems and ways of dealing with indigenous people, that do more harm than good. And, afterall, that was part of the whole reason for setting up Whanau Ora – to enable Maori communities & whanau to have more control over how they are treated their people.

  7. William Joyce 7

    I got depressed last week as I read the reports presented to the seminar on June for the Welfare Work Group. What was depressing was seeing the reports from people at the sharp end presenting experience and the hard stats on what a social body blow New Zealand had sustained from the 21% benefit cuts by Nationa in 1991.
    The largest increases of people going onto sickness and invalids are in the 18-24 age group, out stripping the “aged” and somewhat expected group of the 60-64 age group.
    These are people who were born, or where children raised, under the 21% cut when poverty rates increased sharply.
    Doctors there reported the sharp rise in childhood diseases that correlate with other social ills and they all have a shared point when the started to increase – the National governments cuts 1990-91.

    And yet the WWG comes out with the whole unsustainability argue again. We are paying in ways that the pimply and peach-fuzz faces in the media, fresh out of journalism school, recycling press releases to meet the 24 hour new cycle do not report because although they have pretty power points, just like comic book pictures, the require too much intellectual energy.

    The Nats screwed us in the 1990’s and all the woes that the “crazy liberals” with their “culture of envy” warned about have come to pass.

    And where are these people once the consequences begin to bite? They have moved on and NOBODY can be held accountable.
    Where’s are the likes of Max Bradford when it comes time to pay the power bill. Or Bill Birch and Ruth Richardson when children raised in homes that were poor ie. unable to participate fully in society.


    • William Joyce, wasnt that the name of Lord Haw Haw?
      The WWG are a rightwing murder squad. They are hangovers from the 19th century poor law mentality which prove that this is still a white settler country ruled by profiteering racists.
      Instead of targetting baby bashing and gangs, what about targeting the causes of these: the ongoing colonisation of Aotearoa where the working class is cheap labour for international capital, and its members are demoralised, fighting among themselves, demonising the underclass and its stereotypical ‘brown’ colouring? This is the age-old culture-of-poverty blaming the victims.
      Today’s racially divided underclass is proof that NZ is a colony of Australia.

      • William Joyce 7.1.1

        You make some points that I would agree with or at least have some sympathy esp ref to poor law and the white power elite etc etc.
        “Instead of targetting baby bashing and gangs” – a common type of argument used to say a subject not be discussed. It implies that making any comment is “targetting” an issue to the exclusion of others. Not so. Our view needs to be both broader than a single issue and to take both long and short terms views. Rex Widerstrom makes the good point that while we may take the long term and debate economics and social policy, it is of no help to the child who is going to get the bash tonight. Seabed and foreshore, resource allocation, reconciliation and restitution, and social equality are all long term.

        Not less important – just less urgent.

        Stating the truth is “demonising the underclass”?
        “This is the age-old culture-of-poverty blaming the victims” – so what are you saying? Victimhood excuses abuse and makes it a topic that can not discussed? What does that say about us if we don’t speak about abuse is because we don’t want to be labelled as perpetuating colonialism or as being racist. Bollocks! That make’s us the same as family members who stay quiet – only we have the comfort of more intellectual, social theory based reasons to justify us covering our own arse for not speaking.

        It seems to be the nature of most humans to divert attention away from “guilt” by shifting the blame and it’s common for ethnic groups to employ the “your a racist card” when there is an issue that they want to avoid. Meanwhile kids are getting hurt and killed. We have got to plant our feet and not be pushed back for fear that we get labelled as racist or colonial throw backs.

        Surely, the Maori Party have the mana, the limelight and a modicum of power/state resources to draw attention to this – as well as the skin colour if that’s what it takes.

        If not them then who?

  8. Frank Macskasy 8

    “History is what it is.”

    Well… that’s insightful. History – Is What It Is. *facepalm*

    “There is only so much that can be achieved by seeking amends…”

    You mean like… re-establishing an economic base upon which to build a future for maori? Like… something to leave their children?

    Funny thing about land taken by successive governments.

    Maori had theirs confiscated. No compensation. And have to struggle throughout the decades to eventually have their grievances heard at the Waitangi Tribunal.

    Europeans have theirs purchased under the Public Works Act. And are fully compensated. And if the government no longer wants the land, it is offered back to the original owners.

    • loota 8.1

      You mean like re-establishing an economic base upon which to build a future for maori? Like something to leave their children?

      Build a future for Maori?

      This country is currently lacking an economic base upon which to build a future for any New Zealander and *their* children. Aside from Jonkey and the top 10-15% of net asset worth individuals of course.

    • William Joyce 8.2

      “History is what it is.’
      yes, *yawn*, you seemed to have missed the next sentence and therefore the point and trotted out the same common arguments. I get it. These may well be the reasons we got into this sitiuation but
      they require time, political will to solve.
      Seeing Rex’s post. Long term vs short term. Neither is mutually exclusive.

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