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National cuts safety nets

Written By: - Date published: 6:24 am, April 29th, 2011 - 34 comments
Categories: national, Social issues - Tags: , , ,

National continue to target the vulnerable with their cuts.  Their latest moves in cutting the budgets of Womens’ Refuges and a national Self-Defence course for girls are merely the latest example.

Womens’ Refuges face a nearly $700,000 cut in their budgets, which will severely affect their ability to provide a safe haven for women and children at the end of some shocking family violence.  Whilst Paula Bennett talks about getting a white paper to discuss how to protect our children from abuse, she is hollowing out the services that will provide that protection.

From the Herald:

The 45 refuges have lost $382,200 from their national contract and just over $300,000 in contracts held by some refuges for family violence co-ordinator and child advocate jobs, which have been scrapped.

They don’t fit new ‘family-centred’ funding criteria, so Refuge chief executive Heather Henare says:

“We currently get paid $520 per client for just over 3000 [short-stay] clients, spread amongst the 45 refuges. Take $382,200 out and that reduces to $251,” she said.

“We have to make a decision as to whether we can actually provide that service any more.”

It makes a mockery of National’s supposed focus on frontline services – what could be more frontline than protecting families from abusive partners?

Of course cutting backroom services makes no more sense.  If we want to prevent violence we need the likes of Amokura, a $1 million-a-year family violence education initiative run by seven Northland iwi, which will close on June 30 because it does not provide “frontline” services.  Prevention better than cure?  Not for the short-termist ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff National party.  Better to pay for the jails and hospital bills as they’re “frontline”.

Similarly with the cuts to the Girls’ Self Defence Project – their entire $377,000 budget has been cut, and their project will no longer exist.  Over the past 15 years the project has taught self-defence to 77,000 vulnerable girls and increased the rate of sexual abuse disclosure – but that’s apparently a “nice to have”.

So: less than $700,000 to save the Womens’ Refuges or the more than $600,000 on tax cuts on government MPs’ parliamentary salaries – I know which one I think is the “nice to have”.

34 comments on “National cuts safety nets ”

  1. M 1

    No surprises there – ‘naice’, smart girls don’t get themselves into situations like that do they?

    The policy to fund front line staff rather than those who do the hard yards out the back mirrors NACT’s whole philosophy – they’re ALL FRONT AND NO SUBSTANCE.

    This is just another example of the right’s hatred towards women.

    Bennett’s White Paper? That would have to be a blank sheet, just like her.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I heard Danny Watson, who has a background in teaching martial arts, talking to another martial arts trainer about this self-defence course (and other similar type ones). They both agreed that these types of courses teach just enough to get people into trouble. That is, they may end up with a false sense of confidence about their ability to deal with threats of violence.

    Just because a self-defense course is put on doesn’t mean it is any good, or will actually help in real-life situations. If this is the case with this course, why should taxpayers be funding it?

    • handle 2.1

      Is there any evidence the course has been judged ineffective or that the decision to stop its funding is based on such an assessment? Or is this just the usual attempt at distraction from the immoral nastiness of your chums in power?

    • Andy-Roo 2.2

      I was a martial arts instructor for more than 10 years, and I have been actively involved in womens self defence training in the past.

      You are talking out your arse.

      If you bothered to inform yourself on this subject you would rapidly find out that women who fight back when attacked (however effectively or ineffectively) are better off than women who don’t.

      It is that simple.

      Self defense courses work because they encourage women to fight back, not because they impart a high level of martial skill to women.

      I could say more, but frankly your ignorant comments on this subject just make me angry.

      • Blondie 2.2.1

        Andy Roo, I have been the victim of a violent attack a couple of times.

        The first time was when I got raped as a teenager. It was horrible but you know, I survived. I’m not going to go into that too much.

        The second time was an ex-boyfriend who beat me up when I found out he was cheating and told him it was over. I fought back. It was a waste of time; when I fought back he progressed from slapping and pushing and shoving me around; to headbutting me, pinning me down and repeatedly punching me in tthe face. I thought he was going to kill me.

        I know now, if I’m ever threatened again, I won’t fight back. I will run as fast as I can instead. If I can’t run, I will drop to my knees and beg for mercy and tell them I’m sorry for whatever they think I’ve done; that I “love” them and worship them etc etc etc – because you know what, that’s what they WANT to hear, and that won’t provoke them to escalate their violence further. Then once they’ve calmed down, I can make my escape.

        Let’s face it, no matter what we might like to think, a woman is unable to defend herself physically against a man who’s 20-30 kg heavier than her (especially when we consider that a man’s bodyweight generally has a higher proportion of muscle compared to a woman’s).

        The best way to keep safe is to avoid the situation altogether. To flee it, even. Which is where the likes of Women’s Refuge are so valuable – because they give vulnerable women somewhere to flee to.

        I guess this just goes to show how misogynist our current government is.

        • Andy-Roo

          Hi Blondie,

          So sorry to hear about what was done to you.

          As a man, I feel shamed, every time I hear a woman relate a story like that.

          And no way am I going to argue with you or say that you are wrong to feel the way that you feel.

          But I will say that many years ago now, my partner was attacked. Who knows how serious it would have got. But she did fight back, and the pathetic bastard that attacked her backed off before any serious physical harm was done.

          I also know that if we look at this as a numbers game, then the numbers say that fighting back is better (on average) than not fighting back.

          But in terms of your personal experience I know that this does not mean much.

          Kia Kaha, Blondie

      • Deadly_NZ 2.2.2

        And with more and more savage cuts by this government, A government that does not care about us, we are just there to be slaves, they don’t care about our mental health. They don’t care about our physical health. Now when the family unit breaks down, violence begins, and the government has just slashed the safety net for thousands of women. So Paula Bennet what are you going to do, say, or try to spin your way out of, when something like this happens in NZ? Warning it’s a gruesome story.


        This is in England where they have also slashed services and safety nets and this is becoming all too common over there, Is this what we have to look forward to?

        I sincerely hope not

  3. Monty 3

    The country has been living beyond its means for decades. Thanks for Labour’s legacy, the GFC, and a couple of major earthquakes, we are running a deficit of $15b per annum that you fail to ever mention (except to Blame National when it is clearly the legacy of Cullen). So drastic cuts need to be made. A shame National did not have the balls to raise the retirement age to 67 over say 8 years, and cut the pension for multi-millionaires such as Jim Anderton.

    Some of these moves would be politically untenable (and that is why Brash will be great for NZ), so cuts need to be made. They cuts need to be made and I regret that the Nats dont seem to have the balls to do what needs to be done. Act will have the spine.

    The starting point is the need to get the deficits under control – therefore cuts are needed right across the board.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      This country has not been living beyond its means, the wealthy corporations and shareholders have been taking its means.

      Drastic moves do need to be made.

      Like reintroducing the top tax at 39%. And removing the tax breaks off property speculation.

      The starting point is the need to get the deficits under control – therefore cuts are needed right across the board.

      Yeah, across the board you say? Where are the changes hammering the private schools and capital gains?

      Oh, when you say “across the board” you mean hitting only poor people?

      Got ya.

      • felix 3.1.1

        When he says “across the board” he means it in the sense of “on the other side of the board”.

        • Vinsin

          Chopping board?

          • logie97

            Heard Kerr speaking with the sound of glee in his voice. The chance of major government peel back appeals so much to him.

            Maybe the moment industry pays their complete share to the Treasury, we might then begin to rationalise the organisation of government expenditure.

            A fair day’s income for a fair day’s work could become the mantra.
            Looking after sleeping shareholders income could go way down the list of priorities.

            Legislate against all the ruses to avoid paying of tax.
            The complete nonsense of being able to claim all the daily expenses against the company and Family entertainment-days-out “on the company”.

            And while they’re in the process of assessing Tertiary study perhaps they might consider removing MBA’s and Accountancy degree courses and any other qualifications that encourage the avoidance of rendering unto Caesar that which…

      • johnm 3.1.2

        Well said CV!

    • millsy 3.2

      I hope you will thank the battered women for their selfless sacrifice, in giving up the one safe place they can go so escape to violent rages of their husbands for this country’s deficit.

      Also I hope you thank the many people who will give up their home, cars, and living standards and plunge themselves into hardship, those who will give up our affordable health care system, and the children who will give up their schooling.

    • handle 3.3

      Though Labour surely wasted opportunities to avoid another real estate frenzy that sent this country’s private debt skyrocketing, they did leave the government’s books balanced. Sorry if that is inconvenient for your argument, Monty.

    • Lanthanide 3.4

      “Thanks for Labour’s legacy”

      Yes, thanks to Labour’s legacy, a 0 net-debt position going into the financial crisis, this country has (so far) avoided the fate of most other western countries.

      “and cut the pension for multi-millionaires such as Jim Anderton. ”

      Hey, I can play this game too! Which right-wing party is now poised to elect a pensioner as their leader?

      • Herodotus 3.4.1

        NZ 1st !!!!
        La please with the nil net debt have a look at the res bank forecasts at the time of the last election, No matter who won we were entering a period of massive govt debt. we already have huge national debt to start with. A hint La if you want real improvement don’t become a cheerleader- examine more than the 6:00 news headlines then the more that ask real propbing questions and demand answers then progress can commence Have a happy day 😉 my precious metals !!
        Labs legacy growth built of immigration (contributed approx 1/2 of our GDP growth over their years in power)and fueling a property buble (also allowing houses that were unfit to live in, remember Leaky homes that Helen Clark commented on a beatup by the NZ Herald). What legacy of continual growth ?/ Oh yes petrol chemical exporting and mining DOC land and that windfall we are to experience RWC

  4. Blue 4

    This is truly the most appalling and disgusting thing this Government has done. The Right aren’t famed for their compassion, but this is a low blow even for them.

    I can’t even fathom how a Government could make a decision like this. If you were governing in the best interest of your citizens it’s something you wouldn’t do unless you were in a Greece-style situation and there was absolutely no alternative. Even then it’s still appalling.

    The fact that National would do this without our country being on the verge of bankruptcy, in an election year, and after wasting millions on SCF – they really don’t give a damn. And they must think voters won’t give a damn either.

    What a sorry little country we are.

    • handle 4.1

      A government is free to act like this when it faces a piss-weak opposition. And voters who ignore shitty behaviour from supposed leaders when they wouldn’t tolerate it from anyone they know.

      • Vinsin 4.1.1

        Agreed. They do realize we have a world cup coming up don’t they? I would’ve thought now would be the time to increase spending in this area – oh that’s right we don’t have the money, we gave it all to ten people.

    • todd 4.2

      I have to agree with you there Blue.

      Not only is this a seriously stupid cut to make, we still have the right-wing shouting the catch phrase “We borrow $300 Million each week” while berrying their snouts even further into the trough. The hypocrisy shown by the National Government in making cuts to services that are seriously required while they prop up private businesses and sports events that are not required is disgusting!

      While we’re preached at about fiscal responsibility to justify the unjustifiable, the fat deluded politicians try to hood wink the public with propaganda and outright lies. While our cost of living has gone up and up, National try to make us believe price increases are good for all New Zealanders.

      With dubious investments and conflicts of interest, millionaire politicians borrow $300 million a week to pay for tax cuts for their rich mates. The poor cannot afford to pay for it and the cost will be felt in misery and a lower standard of society.

      While battered woman have nowhere to go to escape abuse, the contemptuous politicians build more jails and prop up failed financial companies with billions of dollars, all the while trashing our environment in favour of unsustainable practices.

      I really do hope that the complacent public is going to realise a fascist assault on our liberties is underway before it is too late.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Prevention better than cure? Not for the short-termist ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff National party.

    Sounds like they’re removing the ambulance at the bottom as well.

    Better to pay for the jails and hospital bills as they’re “frontline”.

    Ian Wishart thinks our prison population isn’t high enough.

  6. Women’s Refuges – ‘nice to haves’.

  7. Tombstone 8

    What the hell is Labour doing? Where the hell is Goff? He should be tearing DonKey and this bastard govt a new arsehole. Christ, if I was in his position right now I would be ripping into National like a rabid dog because they’re doing nothing for this country apart from keeping their rich mates propped up at the expense of thousands of ordinary Kiwis still waiting for John Key’s so-called better NZ. Better NZ my arse!

    • fatty 8.1

      Too right tombstone….Goff should be shouting from the rooftops about this.

      Goff needs to pick his fights wisely and speak out at the right time, this is a no brainer

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