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Weekly Media Roundup

February 01, 2018 at 3:19 PM

Abuse inquiry a chance to confront NZ's history - Ardern

A former governor-general will chair a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

Ms Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin gave details of the inquiry which was formally established today.

"Any abuse of children is a tragedy, and for those most vulnerable children in state care, it is unconscionable," said Ms Ardern.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveils inquiry into state care abuse

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the historical abuse of children in state care will focus on the victims, including any systemic bias based on race, gender or sexual orientation, but it will not compensate individual victims.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced details of the inquiry this morning. It will be chaired by former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and begin hearing victims' stories within six months, with the aim of reporting back by the end of the Parliamentary term.

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Abuse survivors on what they want out of inquiry: 'He admitted it ... I thought there would be consequences'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin today outlined an inquiry into the historical abuse of children in state care.

Some have asked for this to be extended to abuse in other institutions. 

Ahead of the announcement three survivors detail what they would like to happen and why.

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Raped, beaten and drugged: Victims of state school abuse receive less than $11,000

Peter Whall still has nightmares about waking up at his Otago boarding school, a hand clamped over his mouth.

As a young teen, he explained to his housemaster how an older boy climbed into his bed every other night. He had seen the man's two "beautiful" daughters at church and thought he might care.

But he was wrong. The abuse continued for six years.

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Editorial: Government's proposed abuse inquiry doesn't go far enough

EDITORIAL: It is disappointing that a government inquiry into past abuse of children will be limited to those cases which originated in state care. An opportunity to address systemic abuse in non-government institutions, and particularly religious organisations, is likely to be lost.

The inquiry is one of the Government's pledges for its first 100 days in office and will be announced shortly. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already said that inquiries will begin with "the harm that we (the State) had direct responsibility for".

Victims' groups have called on the Government to follow Australia's example and include non-governmental organisations such as churches, charities, community groups and sports clubs in the inquiry. For now, at least, the Government appears to be ruling this out.

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Tracey Martin: We need to get over our anxieties about helping children

OPINION: Stuff's Faces of Innocents series does an important job in reminding us of the tragedies that occur when we don't protect our children. But we need to do more than keep children safe – they all need proper love and care – and we all have a role.

It may be a cliché, but there's nothing more important than our children. 

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Children's Minister Tracey Martin says her mother was abandoned at age 2

Abandoned at the age of two, a Christchurch girl and her brother were taken in by the neighbours.

It would be some time before their grandmother arrived to take care of them - she was not immediately told of her grandchildren's plight.

That child would go on to have one of her own - Tracey Martin, the NZ First MP who was appointed Children's Minister in the Labour-led coalition Government.

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Crucial $27m injection of funds to Ministry of Children for emergency care and housing

The Government has today allocated an extra $27 million to the Ministry of Children to provide extra emergency care placements for vulnerable youth, and programs to help the transition to adulthood.

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Moves aim to keep children out of police cells

The Children's Minister plans to direct $27 million of budgeted ministry funding towards shutting down the practice of remanding children in police cells overnight.

Oranga Tamariki, formerly named Ministry for Vulnerable Children, came under public scrutiny last year over the practice of remanding young people in police cells overnight.

Children's minister Tracey Martin, from New Zealand First, said $15.7 million of the funds would go towards improved care placements.

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New Zealand is a village – let’s make it the kind that helps raise the child

Plunket’s chief executive Amanda Malu says celebrating and supporting whānau and their parenting choices is how the village of New Zealand can help raise every child.

Plunket people, like many across the country, were genuinely thrilled by the announcement from the prime minister and her partner Clarke Gayford on Friday last week. Yet the news that they are hapū also stirred up some less helpful opinions about parenting and prescribed gender roles.

Much of the more negative commentary centred on the concern that mothers may not be capable of working and parenting a child. In case anyone remains in doubt, while working and being a parent of small children can often feel like an impossible task, it’s a feat achieved daily by mums, dads and caregivers across the country.

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Why the PM’s baby news is a reminder that NZ can do better for families, especially dads

The Prime Minister of the country is pregnant and her TV presenter-come-fisherman partner is going to stay home with the child. This is what 2018 should look like.

Jacinda Ardern’s baby news has made headlines worldwide and despite some terrible responses, most people are pretty stoked. It feels like a huge stride for equality and another example of New Zealand women leading the way. Plus babies are great! I can testify firsthand having birthed one not long ago (although the birthing part is not so great).

When I first heard the news, my thought went to Ardern’s partner, Clarke Gayford, and how lucky he is to be able to take on the job of primary caregiver.

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The Prime Minister of multi-tasking will be fine

Working mum Lynn Grieveson argues those saying Jacinda Ardern "won't be able to do both jobs" are making an assumption that mothering must always mean carrying the mental load of parenting.

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Ardern aims to halve child poverty in 10 years

The government has imposed a target for itself to roughly halve child poverty within ten years.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled the goal in a major speech in Wellington this afternoon, evaluating her first 100 days in power and looking forward.

She yesterday revealed her cornerstone legislation to ensure future governments monitor child poverty.

She has now released the targets her Labour-led government will strive for over ten years.

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NZ Government to lead world in measuring success with wellbeing measures

New Zealand plans to be the first in the world to measure its success against how it does socially, culturally and environmentally.

During her first major public address of the year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her Labour-led Government wanted to go further than the child poverty measures it had announced this week.

By the 2019 Budget, it would introduce a tool and framework to include the wellbeing of New Zealanders a measure of our economic success.

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Child poverty fight requires political consensus

The hardest task the child poverty bill faces will potentially be retaining cross-party support in the long term, writes Victoria University's Jonathan Boston

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has released her government’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill, and its bold objective is to achieve a ‘significant and sustained reduction’ in childhood poverty and material hardship in New Zealand. Morally, the goal is worthy. Practically and politically, there is a good case for placing the measurement, monitoring and reporting of poverty rates on a firm legislative basis.

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Rene Naufahu’s statement shows he still hasn’t learned much

After being sentenced for indecent assault, the actor issued a statement that seemed noticeably short on self-awareness and genuine contrition, writes Madeleine Holden.

Last week, once-prominent New Zealand actor Rene Naufahu was sentenced to a year of home detention for six charges of indecent assault against young women who attended his acting classes. The court found that Naufahu had touched, groped and forced tongue kisses onto the women under his tutelage and that, because of the systematic way he targeted aspiring young actresses and convinced them that he could help them become stars, the behaviour amounted to grooming.

In a statement issued post-sentencing, Naufahu described the prosecution as a “brutal learning curve”. However, the most crucial lesson he needed to learn throughout the trial – that his behaviour amounted to a grave abuse of power and inexcusable breach of trust that caused lasting harm to the women affected – appears to have taken root remarkably slowly, if at all.

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Doing mental health differently

The Ministerial Inquiry on Mental Health and Addiction represents far more than another ticked box on the Government’s first 100 days job-list. Its mould-breaking potential shows we are already learning from history, writes Warwick Brunton.

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Police release damning 2018 family violence statistics

Canterbury police has revealed they attend an average of 95 callouts over the weekend.

So far this year police have had six days of more than 40 reports, with 44 on the highest day yet.

Police released a damning video on Facebook, featuring young children holding signs with family violence statistics on them.

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Faces of Innocents: 12 added to Child Victim Toll

Twelve new victims have been added to Stuff's Child Victim Toll, but the identities of many are secret.

The Child Victim Toll draws on Stuff's Faces of Innocents project, which is the first and only known database of its kind in New Zealand.

It records the hundreds of children who have died as a result of abuse, neglect or maltreatment since 1992.

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Domestic violence still a big concern in Cook Islands

The number of reported domestic violence cases in the Cook Islands has decreased over the last two years, but is still considered high.

There have been efforts including new laws to curb the problem but those working in the area say more needs to be done.

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Kyle MacDonald: Does New Zealand need a Minister for Loneliness?

We live in a society that more than ever values work and outputs over all else. People throw the term "neoliberal" around these days as a replacement for "evil" but, in essence, we have become completely accustomed to the focus on free-market economics and on mental health being an "illness" that is located solely within an individual. It isn't.

We all rely on each other: people need people. Put someone in solitary confinement for long enough and they'll literally go mad. They may even die. Yet increasingly the outcome of this heightened focus on individual productivity – "Social Welfare" becoming "Work and Income", then "Social Investment" and "Work for Dole" schemes – is illustrative of the breakdown of community structures that support and engage people with other people.

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Stepfather jailed for years of assaults and emotional abuse on girl

A teenage girl beaten and abused by her stepfather says knowing her mother didn't intervene will stay with her the rest of her life. 

The girl, who has automatic name suppression, watched as the man that taunted, abused and belittled her for five years was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court on Friday to five years imprisonment.   

"I will have to live the rest of my life knowing you weren't there for me when I needed you the most," the girl told her mother in court. 

The mother, who cannot be named without identifying the child, will be sentenced on April 13 for neglecting her daughter. 

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Police prevented from using evidence to prove father murdered daughter

Police were unable to use privileged evidence to prosecute a Taranaki father for murder after he smothered his 2-year-old daughter with a pillow.

Philip Murray Kinraid was eventually convicted for the manslaughter of Esme Claire Kinraid, but only after a judge ruled evidence introduced by the Crown was inadmissible, a Supreme Court judgment released today reads.

In November 2016, Kinraid, a chemical engineer, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the toddler at their Hawera home on June 26, 2015.

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Grandparents bearing the burden of more parents on meth

Methamphetamine has been identified as the main drug being used by parents, whose drug use is a reason their children are going into grandparents' care.

The findings of a new survey by the charitable trust, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG), has deepened concerns about New Zealand's ability to deal with the fallout on society from children affected by the drug.

Seventy two per cent of grandparents who responded to the survey, cited parents' drug use as a reason they were looking after their grandchildren.

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Exclusive: Arrest in West Auckland synthetics death

A 23-year-old man has been charged in connection to the synthetic drugs-related death of West Auckland father Calum Jones.

Jonathan Gordon, from West Harbour, appeared in the Waitakere District Court today charged with supplying a psychoactive substance.

He was remanded without plea until next month.

Jones, 22, died at his family home in Henderson on September 1.

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Educational results falling for NZ's disadvantaged

The number of New Zealand children from poor backgrounds who are succeeding academically is falling by at least 1 percentage point a year, an OECD report shows.

The Academic Resilience: What Schools and Countries Do to Help Disadvantaged Students Succeed in PISA report said just 25 percent of New Zealand's poorest 15-year-olds did well in the most recent international tests of reading, maths and science, down from 37 percent in 2006.

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Why teacher aides are crucial to classrooms: a principal and an aide write

At the end of last year, it was reported that many schools are having to cut teacher aide hours due to tightened budgets. Below, two accounts from Pukerua Bay School, north of Wellington: one from a principal on the importance of teacher aides in the classroom, another from a teacher aide on the impact of these budget squeezes on her life. 

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Lizzie Marvelly: Time to have the real sex talk

We need to make information available to teens without being alarmist or awkward.

I thought I knew a thing or two about sex.

I didn't come down in the last shower. Like most other people of my generation, I learnt about STIs at school. I figured out how not to get pregnant. I have navigated the sexual world with about the usual amount of awkwardness for the last decade. I've made a campaign that focused on issues surrounding sex, and given a TEDx talk on similar subjects. I wouldn't have called myself an expert (nor, indeed, a sexpert), but I thought I was fairly well informed.

Then I started making an educational web series about sex for teenagers and realised how much I still had to learn.

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Catriona MacLennan: Consent is not a grey area

In no other area of life are people expected to repeat refusals over and over again, and to continue physically resisting in order to say 'no', writes Catriona MacLennan

Sexual consent is not hard to understand, murky or a grey area.

By saying it is, we are allowing rape to flourish.

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Bid to block prisoners contacting victims

A private members bill aimed at stopping prisoners contacting victims has been introduced by National MP Louise Upston.

The Corrections (Victim Protection) Amendment Bill would force prison managers to protect crime victims and people who are subjects of a protection order from contact from prisoners.

Upston said most New Zealanders would think it was already a law, but there was a significant gap in the legislation.

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Category: News Media