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Weekly Media Roundup

September 23, 2022 at 3:45 PM

Stuff: Govt 'disappointed' domestic violence tenancy regulations are long overdue. ACT calls it 'unacceptable' 

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has secured a legal opinion that a law allowing victims of domestic violence to break a tenancy to escape an abusive relationship is now in force, despite the Government’s failure to pass enabling regulations. 

The amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act allowing victims of domestic violence to leave a tenancy with just two days notice was to come into force in August last year, but the Government failed to pass the regulations in time to see that happen. 

A year later, it still had not been, which ACT housing spokesperson Brooke van Velden said was unacceptable, calling the Government “too disorganised to get its own house in order”. 

Housing Minister Megan Woods said she was disappointed the regulations had taken so long, and acknowledged it was frustrating for landlords and people who wanted to use the law to help domestic violence victims. 

Now, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has written to property managers saying it had “received legal advice that the provisions are in effect and can be used, even though the regulations are not yet in force”. 


Stuff: Mum escapes addiction and violence thanks to foster family taking both her and baby 

Her newborn was about to be taken into state care. But thanks to a fledgling programme where mums and babies are fostered together, an Auckland mum has turned her life around. Josephine Franks reports. 


Stuff: Morgan Godfery: Fewer Kiwis offending - how do we help the young ones who are? 

OPINION: Five months ago, at 1am in a shopping centre in Hamilton, police caught four children clutching stolen toys after a daring weekday break-in. The youngest would-be thief was only 7. His accomplices were hardly much older at 10, 11, and 12.

In the dramatic coverage of the country’s apparent “youth crime wave” this incident, involving literal children, still stings. What kind of home did that 7-year-old come from? In what kind of society does this happen?

According to the Government’s youth justice indicators, offending among children aged 10 to 13 dropped 65% between 2011 and 2021. Among those aged 14 to 16, it dropped 63%. But the statistics are hardly reassuring when, seemingly monthly, stories appear in the media documenting children committing desperate acts.

That context is important, though. The National Party opposition accuses the Government of taking a “soft on crime” approach that encourages “youth offenders” to act with “impunity”. But youth offending continues to decrease – and dramatically so. This is part of an international trend that academics often call “the crime decline”


Stuff: Head Youth Court judge retires - but there is so much more to do 

Retiring Principal Youth Court judge John Walker isn’t exactly swapping his robes for a relaxed retirement. 

There’s likely to be a bit more court to do, a Centre of Justice Innovation to set up, a boat to finish building and, in his tiny amount of spare time, there’s always blacksmithing. 

He laughs when it's pointed out it sounds like using a hammer and anvil are a good way of working out frustrations. 

However, Walker says at the end of it, he has something beautiful. 

It sums up a career where he has always looked to change things for the better, from crowded list courts to a hugely successful intervention-based method of justice in Youth Court. 


RNZ: 'It has to be early' - Call to screen all pregnant women for mental health 

New research is calling for mental health screening for all pregnant women early on, to prevent serious problems for mothers and babies later. 

Researchers from the University of Auckland's Koi : Centre for Informed Futures have released a new paper looking at mental distress before and after pregnancy. 

They say universal screening is urgently needed, and it must be designed specifically for Aotearoa. 


1 News: 'Reprehensible' - Sepuloni slammed over contentious sanction 

The Green Party says Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni is "reprehensible" for continuing to punish beneficiaries with a controversial warrant to arrest sanction that she admits shouldn't be being used. 

When a beneficiary has a warrant issued for their arrest the Government cuts off their benefit until they resolve the matter with the court. If the beneficiary is single, their benefit is cut completely. If they have children their benefit is cut in half. 

In 2021, Sepuloni told 1News she was worried the sanction was harming children and that she would like it gone immediately. 

This week, she told Parliament that while she doesn't believe the welfare system "should be used as a tool for the justice system", removing the sanction was not a priority for her and would not be happening under this Government. 


NZ Herald: Val Heaney murder: Man who battered landlord with hockey stick jailed for life, previous violence revealed 

The man who battered Christchurch caregiver Val Heaney to death in her home with a hockey stick while she was isolating with Covid-19 has been jailed for life. 

And details of his attack on a previous partner can now be published. 


Stuff: Families clash as Zane Wallace jailed for murdering Jasmine Wilson 

The family of a woman who was beaten for months before being murdered by her partner say they are racked with guilt over her death. 

One sister says the murder has “left a hole in my heart that will last an eternity.” 

Multiple family members of Jasmine Tamara Wilson spoke in the High Court at Whanganui on Friday about the shock, pain and suffering they feel more than three years after her death. 

They all addressed Zane Paora Wallace, who was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years and six months for murdering Wilson. 


The Spinoff: Drugs and the second-gen: How cultural barriers can lead to drug harm 

A lack of meaningful research has created a void of understanding about how a large portion of our population uses and doesn’t use drugs. 


Stuff: Transgender, non-binary abuse victims asked for experiences with police 

Transgender and non-binary people are among those being asked to take part in a survey that seeks to find out more about how police are responding to family and sexual violence in New Zealand. 

The survey, facilitated by the domestic abuse survivors' organisation The Backbone Collective, also wants to hear from victims who chose not to contact police, and why. 

The goal is to ensure any new initiatives developed by the police will best serve women, trans and non-binary survivors, and as such wants to better understand the experiences of gender diverse people and sexuality diverse women. 


Newshub: Former Gloriavale members say women were told to have sex whenever their husbands wanted 

The Employment Court has heard women at Gloriavale would go hungry in order to properly feed the men and were told by leaders to have sex as and when required by their husbands. 


RNZ: Breaking the stigma - South Asians and mental health  

As New Zealand marks Mental Health Awareness Week, we talk to South Asian health advocates about the gaps and challenges they see in the community. 

The stigma toward people with mental illnesses in New Zealand is a huge cause for concern. 

98.7% of Asians believe the public holds negative stereotypes against people with mental illnesses, while 47.9% of Asians cannot access language and/or cultural support regularly when they use health services. 


Stuff: Man who trapped daughter in room to rape her narrowly avoids life sentence 

Warning: This story contains descriptions of physical and sexual abuse 

A teenage girl who was raped by her father says she will not use that title to refer to him in the future. 

“I will never consider you my dad again,” she told the High Court at Palmerston North on Thursday. 

“A father is supposed to protect and look after their daughter. 

“You disgust me.” 

The man was sentenced to 12 years’ prison, with a minimum term of two-thirds, for raping her. 


Stuff: Father faces deportation after assaults on wife and children 

A Blenheim man who assaulted his wife and children could be deported after sentencing. 

Joseva Vunisa Nawaqavonovono , 31, had asked two of his children, aged under 13, to complete their chores on a Friday afternoon in March 2021, but they refused, a police summary of facts said. 

He then hit them both across their palms with an extension cord, and hit the back of his son’s hand, before attempting to hit the back of his daughter’s hand but she withdrew it, causing him to hit her forearm instead. The girl later had a bruised forearm, the summary said. 


Stuff: Repeat child sex offender with 'hundreds' of victims jailed for two years 

A convicted child sex offender caught with images of children being abused, despite being monitored by authorities, has been jailed. 

Glenn Alan Kiddell , 64, pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child sex abuse images, breaching an extended supervision order and failing to meet his obligations as a registered child sex offender. 


Stuff: Fake claims by disgruntled ex results in stressful complaints process for victim 

A man who made fake claims to his former partner’s employer about inappropriate behaviour at work, only to take it back days later, has admitted what he did was “nasty”. 

On August 12, Stephen Robert Burns breached a protection order made against him, when he phoned his ex’s employer, Te Whatu Ora Taranaki, and made various false accusations about the woman’s conduct. 

Police prosecutor John Simes told the New Plymouth District Court there had been 14 previous incidents of family violence between the 47-year-old and his former partner during the two years they were together. 

A final protection order was made against Burns, in favour of the victim, following a hearing in the Hāwera District Court in March. 


Stuff: 'Evil monster' jailed for more than 9 years for historic child rape charges 

Name suppression was lifted for a 57-year-old man described as an “evil monster” when he was jailed on historic child sex charges in the Timaru District Court on Thursday. 

Stephen John Kearns, who has previous convictions for child indecency, was jailed by Judge Kevin Phillips for nine years, nine months on two charges of child rape, five charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and three charges of committing an indecent act on a child. 


Stuff: Paedophile who documented abuse of two young girls jailed for 18-and-a-half years 

A Waikato man who photographed himself sexually violating two young girls over a three-year period still maintains he did not do anything wrong. 

Jeffrey John Hamilton Taylor was jailed for 18 years and six months – with a minimum non-parole period of nine years and three months – when he appeared for sentencing in the Hamilton District Court on Wednesday. 


Stuff: Dad convicted for belting son files appeal, then ghosts the court 

A father who belted his teenage son on the buttocks for bad language then defended his actions through a trial has tried to appeal and failed. 

The appeal was dismissed after months of trying to get the man to engage with the court and tell them what the grounds of appeal were, with no luck. 

Category: News Media