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Weekly Media Roundup

April 12, 2017 at 5:13 PM

Supporting an inquiry into abuse in state care

Over the last few months, the NZ government has faced multiple demands for independent inquiries: to uncover alleged war crimes undertaken by NZ military forces against Afghani civilians, to acknowledge NZ women who were forced to have their new-borns adopted, and to understand the experiences of the thousands who endured abuse within NZ’s state care system. To all these victims, the government’s response has been ‘no’, ‘go away’.

And, yet, victims’ stories continue to seep out. Just this morning, I watched four courageous Māori men – Ngā Mōrehu, the survivors – remember their state care experiences on TV3’s ‘The Hui’. Their testimonies of brutality and trauma were utterly shocking but they’re not exceptional.


Opinion: State care abuse robbed thousands of their futures

OPINION: I'm not the same person I was a couple of weeks ago. After meeting four men who have to be some of the bravest people I've ever met and hearing their tragic stories of violence and abuse in state care, there's no way I could be.

If you saw The Hui's special episode 'Ngā Mōrehu' on Sunday you'll know what I mean. The blanket of blissful ignorance has been ripped from me, replaced instead by terrifying stories of boys being beaten until they lost control of their bowels during a welcoming ceremony euphemistically called 'The Blanket Show'. 

I can't un-hear the horrific stories of the sodomy, abuse and despair they endured while they were in state-run boys' homes.


Editorial: The helping Government doesn't always need all your personal details

OPINION: "I'm from the Government," as the old saw goes, "and I'm here to help". Perhaps there was a time when most people would believe a line like this, but not any more: nowadays the helper from the Government is often a joke or even a threat.

And the joke helps explain why the Government can't just demand that government-funded NGOs pass on all their clients' personal details to faceless officials. There are plenty of reasons why these people don't trust the Government.


Lawyers must stop 'peddling myths' in rape trials

Barrister and journalist Catriona MacLennan argues lawyers must stop 'peddling myths' when defending clients accused of rape.

OPINION: A decade has passed since the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct was released. The inquiry was sparked by the heroic Louise Nicholas' allegations against the police and led to 47 recommendations which police have spent 10 years implementing.

But one aspect of the way we deal with rape cases has not changed at all in that time.

This is the way in which lawyers represent those accused of rape. Lawyers continue to peddle rape myths on behalf of their clients.


Police tell offenders' partners of violent history

Police have disclosed a person's violent past to their partner or another concerned person in 117 different cases since a law change allowed them to do so.

A number of woman have ended relationships as a result.

In the 15 months since the scheme's launch Police have approved 74 per cent of disclosure requests, Justice Minister Amy Adams and Police Minister Paula Bennett announced today.


Over-delivering women's refuge faces closure if government funding falls through

The Mid and South Island Women's Refuge faces closure if its government funding is not renewed.

This despite the organisation, which services South and Mid Canterbury and the Waitaki regions, over-delivering its services.

Refuge and Family Safety Services manager Dawn Rangi-Smith said staff were on "tenterhooks" as women would have nowhere to go if the service closed.


MSD accused of making Whānau Ora agency do its dirty work

An agency that distributes Whānau Ora money has accused the Ministry of Social Development of forcing it to do its dirty work and cut millions of dollars' of contracts aimed at helping at-risk families.

The agency, Te Pou Matakana, said the ministry dumped 23 contracts on it, knowing they would have to be cancelled. But the minister Anne Tolley said the claims were ridiculous.


Mothers take on the Family Court with new watchdog report

A report published today highlights what it says are systematic failures in the Family Court. Jess McAllen speaks to Deborah Mackenzie of The Backbone Collective, the organisation which commissioned the report.


'Extremely disappointing': Minister still concerned after privacy near-miss

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says a report into last week's privacy near-miss has raised more questions than answers.

The IT system for receiving private client information at the Ministry of Social Development was shut down last week after a privacy near-miss. It followed a privacy breach about one month ago.


Couple battles Oranga Tamariki over toddler's injuries

A Wairarapa couple are locked in a battle with social workers over their two children, triggered by fractures one of them suffered.

Oranga Tamariki (formerly Child, Youth and Family) has forbidden the parents to be alone with either child for 20 months. The couple, who cannot be identified, say they're being unfairly kept away from their children.


Man who killed his 2-year-old stepson given 7-and-a-half year sentence

A Flaxmere man who killed his 2-year-old stepson has been sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment.

Tamehana Huata, 19, appeared before Judge Susan Thomas in the Napier High Court this morning to be sentenced on one charge of manslaughter and one charge of injuring with intent to injure his stepson Matiu Wereta, 'MJ', in October 2015.


Fraud and abuse cases gathering dust, family violence reports soaring: Why police pushed for more numbers

Hundreds of unassigned child protection and adult sexual assault cases, and challenges fighting fraud and cybercrime, are among the reasons revealed for the big expansion in police numbers.

In late August, police were investigating less than 5 per cent of fraud cases referred from the banking sector. 

And a huge surge in mental health and family violence incidents meant police workloads were often outstripping population growth. 


EXCLUSIVE: Sister of murdered Masterton siblings speaks out about abuse, violence and murder

It has been more than 15 years since Bruce Howse murdered his stepdaughters Saliel Aplin, and Olympia Jetson as they lay in bed at their Masterton home. The girls had suffered years of abuse at the hands of Howse and despite their cries for help, it never came. Today, finally strong enough to revisit the tragedy, the girls’ sister Alicia tells their story.


Ashburton man beat pregnant woman with baseball bat until she pretended to be dead

A man who attacked a woman pregnant with his child until he saw a "lifeless unmoving body on the ground" has been jailed for eight years.

Ashburton man Christopher James Buick hit a woman who was five months pregnant with his child so hard in the head with a baseball bat that it snapped. He then kicked her in the head and stomach.


Teens learn dating tools to prevent domestic-violence

Police continue to work with Year 12 students throughout the country to shift attitudes towards relationship violence. They hope the Loves Me Not initiative will equip young adults with essential lifeskills, following the death of a 22-year old Papakura woman who was fatally shot in what Police believe to be a domestic-related incident last week. 


Primary schools at 'breaking point' over violent children

Violent behaviour by children is on the rise and teachers are enduring assaults that have included kicks to the groin and a pencil in the eye, primary school principals say.

The Principals Federation and the Educational Institute (NZEI) said their members were reporting a growing problem caused by deprivation and family dysfunction.


Police see increase in suspicious approaches to children, but don't think abductions are on the rise

Police are seeing more reports of suspicious approaches to children, but do not believe attempted abductions are on the rise.

They suspect this increase in reports comes from greater awareness brought on by two near misses earlier this year, rather than more actual incidents.


'Brotherly' bond or child abuse plot? Historic case challenges Australia's new grooming law

The historic Australian case heard in the County Court Victoria last month was the first trial involving a new single offence: grooming, without any sexual assault. This is what Nathan was charged with in August 2015.

What has happened since then amounts either to the destruction of an innocent teacher's reputation – or the failure of the legal system to protect a vulnerable child.

What is not in dispute is the trial reveals the complexities of a new law designed to address a very old problem.


A language guide wants phrases like 'man up' and 'two to tango' banned for being sexist

Have you ever told a boy to "man up" or called a girl a "princess"?

A language guide designed to expose hidden meanings in common phrases wants a ban on sayings including "boys will be boys" and "it takes two to tango", according to

The Excuse Interpreter, released as part of the Government's $30 million "Stop it at the Start" campaign against domestic violence, claims that certain expressions absolve disrespectful behaviour towards young women.


Former Shortland Street actor Rene Naufahu will stand trial in September

An actor accused of indecently assaulting seven of his acting students will stand trial in September.

Former Shortland Street actor Rene Naufahu's four-week jury trial has been scheduled to begin on September 4 - his bail will continue until that date.


Crown must work urgently to tackle Maori rate of reoffending says Waitangi Tribunal

The Crown has breached its Treaty of Waitangi obligations by failing to tackle the high rate of reoffending by Maori, and urgent action is needed, says the Waitangi Tribunal.

Despite being aware for several decades of the huge discrepancy between the rate of Maori and non-Maori re-offending, the Crown, through the Department of Corrections, has done little to address it, the tribunal found.

In fact, recent evidence suggests the gap is widening.


Category: News Media