Archive for February 10th, 2012

February 10, 2012

Paula Bennett ‘astounded’ by poverty feedback

by Pete George

Paula Bennett was in Dunedin as part of her tour around the country romoting discussion on the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.

Feedback ‘astounds’ minister after Dunedin visit

Continuing problems with poverty and ensuring care reaches the “invisible” needy were highlighted in Dunedin yesterday during a discussion, initiated by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, focusing on a green paper about vulnerable children.

Ms Bennett said she was “absolutely astounded” by the extent and quality of feedback from the meeting.

About 50 people, many of them representing government-funded social service providers, attended a feedback meeting at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Hopefully some good will come of the efforts people have made to contribute to the discussion.

Ms Bennett said considerable efforts were already being made to protect vulnerable children but the outcome, including some cases of severe abuse highlighted in the news media, was “simply not good enough”.

An intense meeting followed, running over its initially allocated 90-minute duration, participants having for part of the time broken into six groups to consider some key issues in detail.

Positive changes were needed but mandatory reporting and increased information sharing were sticking points for some.

More obviously needs to be done but it is a very complex issue and it’s difficult to avoid some negative impacts. We have to be careful but if anything should err on the side of child protection.

Submissions need to be made on the Green Paper by 28 February.


February 10, 2012

“Culture key to stopping child abuse”

by Pete George

That’s the headline, but there’s nothing in the article on Green Paper for Vulnerable Children seminar that expands on the statement. The seminar was at the Hutton Theatre yesterday, sponsored by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.

Opening the seminar, Mr Cull said New Zealand’s child abuse rates suggested children were not highly valued.

The green paper contained good suggestions of how to protect children, but the issue was a very broad one, he said.

It was crucial to New Zealand’s future that more was done to protect children, he said.

There is an entrenched culture of violence throughout our society. Changing it is a big challenge, as illustrated by an extended blog discussion yesterday:

“It’s common knowledge that male bonding with children begins and ends with sporting events.”

Wrong, it begins with a sound thrashing and ends with a clip around the ear.

Dim-Post is more of an academic/intellectual blog where violence would seem to be out of place but there was strong defence of joking about violence against children.

It’s very difficult changing a culture like that. There were only a few people supporting child violence jokes as acceptable, but notable was the lack of criticism (apart from me).

Joking about violence, and not challenging it, contributes to the culture of violence we have in our society. It’s not just violent people to blame for violence, non-violent people need to speak out against. Remaining passive is a part of the problem.

There are a lot of people prepared to stand up and speak out against violence and other problems facing Kiwi kids. More required.

Hutton Theatre the venue for a discussion on children’s issues

(Channel 9) The Government has been circulating a ‘green paper’ discussion document on children’s issues, with a host of speakers travelling the country.

Dunedin’s Hutton Theatre was the venue for the Dunedin and Invercargill talks, which were described as ‘robust’, by one of the speakers.


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