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Weekly Media Roundup

January 31, 2020 at 2:03 PM

Newshub: Increasing numbers of Māori babies being removed from families, despite falling rates of abuse - report

Harrowing figures are emerging from a Children's Commissioner report around assessments and removals of Māori babies (pēpi). 

Findings suggest moving pēpi into state care is happening earlier than it does for non-Māori - with the decision increasingly being made before the child is even born, particularly for Māori.

There were eight times more concerns reported for unborn Māori babies in 2019, as compared with 2004. In that same time, reported concerns for non-Māori increased only 4.5 times. 



RNZ: Ngāti Porou aims to have no children taken into state care by 2025

Ngāti Porou wants greater resourcing for its social services from the government to stop any more descendants going into state care from 2025.

The East Coast tribe presented a report into its iwi-led model of care to the Children's Commissioner and the Ministry of Social Development.

It said the current Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between the iwi and the Crown was not a partnership based on the Treaty of Waitangi.



NZ Herald: Papatoetoe, Auckland, family tragedy: Slain mother had protection order, violent estranged husband facing jail

The man who died at a Papatoetoe house after allegedly killing his wife and critically injuring their toddler was facing prison time for earlier family violence offending.

And his wife's bereft family have spoken, begging other women living with domestic violence to speak out, stand up and seek help.



RNZ: NGO social work agencies feeling the pinch after Oranga Tamariki pay rise

An under-staffed social work agency has been turning away applicants because it can't afford to pay them enough.

The struggles at Birthright Hawke's Bay and other agencies have intensified due to the huge pay gap with Oranga Tamariki (OT) social workers.

A year on from when government social workers got a 30 percent pay rise, non-government organisations (NGOs) are still counting the cost of being unable to keep up, or pay up.



The Spinoff: It is folly to take on social dysfunction while avoiding all mention of the p-word

New research encourages ‘interventions’ – things like programmes aimed at helping poorer families to ‘be better parents’ – without addressing substantially issues of poverty, and it’s a bit like trying to prop up a crumbling brick wall with a piece of four-by-two, writes Max Rashbrooke.

Read more…


Newsroom: UN condemns NZ’s response to Lake Alice torture

Official investigations into abuse at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital were effectively a sham, UN finds


New Zealand has been condemned by the United Nations for violating the UN Convention against Torture. The committee heavily criticised successive governments for repeatedly failing to properly investigate undisputed historic allegations of torture of children at a psychiatric hospital.



Newsroom: Lake Alice: a personal journey

Rosemary Thomson still feels the effects of her time being incarcerated at Lake Alice Hospital's child and adolescent unit. Her story is part of a disturbing scar on New Zealand's health and welfare history.

Read more…


Stuff: Parents want to be more involved in school children's sex education

Parents want to know how schools teach their children about online safety, pornography, harassment and sexual violence so they can reinforce those lessons at home.

The topics make up a small part of schools' sexuality and healthy relationships education criteria, but a recent Family Planning survey showed parents were uncertain how to talk to their children about social and technological changes to sex education, or even what the lessons involved.

The organisation has called for stronger requirements to help bridge the knowledge gap between parents, students and schools.

Read more…


Newsroom: Davis knocks down Destiny’s ‘Man Up’ programme

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has stamped out any hope Brian Tamaki may have held of winning government funding to deliver his Man Up programme in prisons.

The Destiny Church founder has been vocal about what he says is the success of the 15-week programme to help “dysfunctional” men with a record of violent offending and addiction.

Tamaki has repeatedly criticised the Government for not funding him to deliver his programme in New Zealand prisons, despite never making a formal application as part of the Corrections tender process.

Davis said there was no verified, independent research showing the programme has achieved success, and lashed out at Tamaki, calling his claims duplicitous.

Read more…


Noted: A Kete Half Empty: Why poverty in New Zealand is everyone's concern

Paediatrician Dr Renee Liang takes an unflinching look at the realities of child poverty in New Zealand and the need for a political pathway to change.

Read more…


Stuff: Benefits now worth less than after they were cut by 'Mother of all Budgets' in 1991, Salvation Army says

Getting by on the benefit has become harder over the past three decades, analysis by the Salvation Army shows.

It said people who had a benefit as their primary household income had experienced price increases that were a quarter higher than general inflation. They had to spend more of their income on rent and electricity, which had become more expensive, but did not get so much of the benefit of a drop in the cost of technology and travel.

From 1991 to 2019, benefits were only increased at the rate of general inflation - with a one-off boost in 2015 -  meaning people living on benefits faced 118 per cent real inflation, while benefits increased just 79 per cent.

Read more…


Newsroom: Changing South: The Aunties

To be a Christchurch Auntie you have to be kind and ‘non-judgey’.

The Aunties now number 2,500, a network of people providing practical support to women and children who’ve experienced domestic violence.

Members donate cash, goods and time. The giving is co-ordinated via social media.

As part of a series Newsroom is running over summer, Christchurch documentary-maker Gerard Smyth catches up with Christchurch Aunties founder Heather Milne. She says “We have a little idea of what it must be like for women and children who have to leave their home in the middle of the night. We can’t have their experience but we get an idea of the grief and loss they’re experiencing, and I think that motivates people to donate.”

Watch the video…


Stuff: Report into child abuse images could help New Zealand children - Chief Censor

A new report into how child abuse images are proliferated on the internet could help protect New Zealand children, the Chief Censor says.  

The report released earlier this month from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCPL) aims to redefine what child exploitation images are in the hope it will spur global internet giants to take quicker action to take down illegal content. 

It also argues that tech companies should be forced to take down images of children stolen from social media accounts which are used to entice people onto paedophilia websites.  

Read more…


Stuff: The '1X' attempted suicide callout police are getting 67 times a day

Police are responding to suicide attempts and threats 67 times a day but new cadets enter the force with just eight hours of mental health training. 

Last financial year 685 people took their own lives but figures from the New Zealand Police's 2018/19 annual report show officers were called out 24,662 times to people attempting or threatening to - an average of 67 a day and a 10 per cent increase from the previous year.

With a mental health system struggling to keep up with demand, 111 has become the first point of contact when people are in crisis, pushing police officers to the frontline of a mental health crisis.

Read more…


Stuff: What it's like to have the police turn up in the midst of your mental health crisis

In her hour of need, when she needed help the most, Janine Mullin was put in a police cell. Twice. 

The New Plymouth woman had called a support line looking for help and when the person on the other end of the phone became concerned for her safety, they called the police. 

"The police came to my house, burst in, took me to the police station and yelled at me, telling me I was wasting their time, which was hard to hear when you're already feeling stupid and scared and all that. 

"They took all my stuff off me and put me in a police cell."

Read more…


RNZ: The benefit battle: 'Every cent counts'

The number of people desperate for government help to pay for essentials like food and rent is skyrocketing - with advocates warning that won't change until baseline benefits increase.

Figures out today from the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) show that in December there were 15,000 more people on the benefit than a year earlier.

That was a 5 percent increase, bringing the total number of people on a benefit to 314,408.

The figures also paint a picture of people struggling to pay for the basics, with $30 million handed out to cover emergency food grants alone.

Read more…


Stuff: People with brain injuries, developmental issues 'over-represented' in justice system

New Zealand's justice system is not set up for the high proportion of prisoners living with brain injuries and learning difficulties, potentially keeping them in the system and hampering rehabilitation, a report has found. 

A discussion paper released on Wednesday by Chief Science Advisor for the Justice Sector, Dr Ian Lambie, found brain and behaviour differences were "over-represented" in the justice system, among both victims and offenders. 

More than one third of men in New Zealand prisons have suffered multiple, severe traumatic brain injuries – a rate at least four times higher than the general population, the paper stated. 

Lambie questioned whether our justice system was fair for these people, saying the "basic rights to justice may be being denied" for many.

Read more…


Stuff: Traumatic brain injuries like Teina Pora case common in criminal justice system - report

Read more…


Stuff: Kobe Bryant: why his legacy is complicated

OPINION: What is okay to say about Kobe Bryant – and when it's okay to say it – almost swallowed the news of his death in a Calabasas helicopter crash early this week.

As soon as the shockwave of grief had begun to ricochet around the globe, we were reminded that Bryant had both the wings of a sporting god – and feet of clay.

The criminal charges he faced for the alleged rape of a 19-year-old stranger at a Colorado resort in 2003 was a topic many wanted put aside until Bryant's family had time to grieve. And we all get that, don't we? There is nothing more viscerally tragic than the premature death, in freak circumstances, of a loved one. In this case it was two; Bryant's talented 13-year-old daughter Gianna died alongside him. For any parent, for any sibling, the magnitude of this loss must be almost unimaginable.

Read more…


Newshub: Crime up, police data shows

National is blaming a rise in the number of crime victims on the Government's "soft on crime attitude". 

But the Government says that's not the full picture.

Police figures show there were 278,644 "total victimisations" in the 12 months to November 30, up 7.1 percent on the year before. 

Of those, 77 were against property and 23 against people. Assaults were up 7.9 percent and thefts up 7.6 percent.

Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell said it was "unacceptable that there are more victims of crime, especially victims of serious assault, occurring under this Government. Serious assault not resulting in injury is also up."

He called the increase "staggering", but police said the rise in serious assault victimisations - up almost 40 percent - was actually linked to the "introduction of the new family violence offences in December 2018", and was offset by a fall in common assault victimisations. 

Read more…


Stuff: Emergency services could find smartphone owners, even if they haven't called 111

Police and other emergency services may get new powers to track down people who they believe need help or who may harm others, by tapping into the location of their smartphone.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards is consulting on a change to the Telecommunications Information Privacy Code that would allow emergency services to access people's smartphone location in some situations, even if the smartphone owner had not called 111 as is currently required.

Edwards expected the main uses of the new powers would be to help track missing people, such as motorists who might have crashed but not been able to call for help, or Alzheimers patients who were thought to be at risk of injuring themselves.

But he confirmed they could also be used for some types of crime prevention, for example to intercept people who were suspected of being about to commit domestic violence.

Read more…


Stuff: Kiwi girl wins court battle to leave Australia to live with her father in NZ

A 13-year-old girl who made credible allegations of sexual abuse against her stepfather has won the right to leave Australia to return to New Zealand to live with her father.

The girl's mother and stepfather had taken a court case all the way to the New South Wales Supreme Court to try to block the girl from being legally allowed to leave the state.

But in a judgment released in December, the court found the girl should be allowed to move to New Zealand to live with her father.

Read more…


NZ Herald: 'They're better with us': Grandparents on raising grandchildren, how Variety can help Kiwi kids

Lynette and Allan Rowan are missing out on the joys of being grandparents, instead, the Waiuku couple are bringing up their grandchildren.

"That's the saddest part, is that we don't get to be grandparents," Lynette told the Herald.

"We do the yelling, the screaming and we punish them - that's the part we don't like because we should not have to."

The Rowans took on the responsibility because the children could no longer live with their parents, who were struggling with their own problems.

Read more…


Stuff: Man spent hours in car with woman's body after murder

Aaron Richard Potts spent 12 hours drinking and watching pornography in a vehicle with his ex-girlfriend's body after he killed her in her West Coast home.

Potts, 36, pleaded guilty in the High Court in Christchurch on Tuesday to murdering Barbara Ann Quinn, 41. A second charge of assault of a person in a family relationship was withdrawn.

Quinn was last seen alive on the afternoon of December 6. Her body was found in the boot of her car at a mine site off Notown Rd in Greymouth about 2.30pm the next day.



NZ Herald: Former CYFS worker, who once cared for murdered teen, named over allegations he abused 17 boys

A former Child, Youth and Family worker accused of abusing nearly 20 boys can now be revealed as a man who once cared for a teen murdered in the back of a prison van.

Earl Opetaia's name suppression lapsed at 5pm today after his legal counsel refrained from appealing a December High Court judgment revoking the suppression order.

The former approved CYFS worker, who looked after Liam Ashley before he was murdered in 2006, faces a total of 43 charges over allegations of abusing 17 boys.

Opetaia has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is due to go on trial in April in the High Court at Auckland.

Read more…


RNZ: Child sexual abuse material arrest: People accessing material everyday - Customs

A Customs manager says tip-offs about people accessing child child sexual abuse material in New Zealand are received every day and authorities are doing their best to identify victims and stop the distribution of the material.

A tip-off from overseas law enforcement agencies put Customs on the tail of a teacher who is now facing charges after child sexual abuse images and videos were found on his phone.



NZ Herald: 'Sleep with one eye open': Jail for man who threatened former girlfriend

When David Ross Corfield's girlfriend broke up with him, he did not take it well.

Defence counsel Noel Rayner told the Dunedin District Court yesterday the 49-year-old Mosgiel man had found the abrupt end to the relationship hard to reconcile.

His text messages, over the course of a week in July and August last year, "started to get some intensity" as the victim refused to respond.

"That's an understatement," Judge Michael Turner said.



NZ Herald: Rapist begged victim not to go to police

The day after a Dunedin man committed a violent rape, he professed his love for the victim and begged her not to go to police, a court has heard.

William Andrew Laidler (22) said in the messages that he did not want to go to prison.
But his fears were realised at the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday when Judge John Macdonald jailed him for five years and seven months.



NZ Herald: 'One of the most controlling men' judge had seen sentenced to home detention

A Balclutha man who tormented his ex-partner has been blasted by a judge as "one of the most controlling men I've ever seen".

Chris Anthony Wynyard, 33, wrote a letter to the Dunedin District Court saying he was "deeply sorry" for his crimes but Judge Michael Turner was having none of it.

''That's pretty hollow in my view,'' he said.

''You need to walk the talk. Talk is cheap.''



RNZ: School workbook promoting 'harmful' gender roles in Fiji - activist

A school workbook containing "harmful" messages is being circulated in Fiji's schools, says a local activist.

Roshika Deo said her attention was drawn to the Year 8 Healthy Living Pupil's Workbook when she was helping prepare her niece for the school year.

Ms Deo said she was shocked at the "community expectations" that were contained in the book.

The book said women played a "secondary role" with no decision-making power and should be "passive" to men while not being too outspoken.

It also stated girls should be "interested in [their] looks" and at 15, be married "soon". There was an onus to take care of domestic duties and stay at home.



Stuff: Father who broke baby's elbow, wrist, knees and ribs jailed

The father of a two-month-old Timaru girl who punched her in the face, broke her elbow, wrist and knees and fractured her ribs has been jailed.

The 31-year-old who has been granted name suppression said stress and the resentment of having to care for a newborn had led him to assault his daughter. 

The man admitted squeezing his daughter until her ribs cracked, forcefully swaddling her and punching her in the face while she was in his care in 2017.



Stuff: Man jailed for 15 months for vicious street assault of young boy

A man who brutally bashed a child with learning difficulties in the middle of the street says he is trying to move away from his violent ways.

The man saw the "red mist" after a range of stresses culminated in the child, his son, continuously running away, Judge Gerard Lynch told the Palmerston North District Court on Thursday.

The man was jailed for 15 months for assaulting the child in September.


Category: News Media