Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Newman calls on Govt to support Starship Hospital

Newman calls on Govt to support Starship Hospital

Friday 25 Jan 2002 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

Starship Hospital's one-stop-shop initiative to help reduce child abuse deserves the support of central Government, ACT's Social Services spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said in a speech prepared for delivery to a meeting in Whangarei tomorrow (Saturday 26^th).

Speaking at the Northern Regional meeting of ACT New Zealand, Dr Newman said it was shameful that the Government had not supported the grass roots move by the Starship child abuse team to provide better co-ordination between state agencies working with abused children.

"The one-stop-shop concept has been well researched and long planned. It is a common sense solution to the lack of inter-agency collaboration, which was clearly identified by the Commissioner for Children as contributing to the death of toddler James Whakaruru.

"Official figures released to me this week by the Minister of Police show that nine children were fatally abused in the year 2000. There is a chance that by working together and sharing information, some of those children would have been identified as being at risk - and could have been saved.

"I believe it is absolutely disgraceful that the Government has not supported this move to enable medical staff, police and child welfare practitioners to work under one roof.

"Instead of being supportive the Government turned its back on the project. They grudgingly agreed it could go ahead just so long as it didn't cost them anything. The $300,000 cost of establishing the unit had to be raised privately.

"Fortunately, with generous public support, the project is now able to get off the ground, although another $100,000 is still needed. Surely a Government that can find $50 million for a Maori television station should be able to find $100,000 to house state agencies working with abused children.

"The Government has its priorities wrong. Child abuse is one of the biggest problems this country faces. The evidence is now very clear that children from abusive backgrounds are the ones who are more likely to get involved in criminal activity, and as parents, they are more likely to be violent and abusive to their own children. It is a cycle that must be broken.

"ACT applauds the Starship initiative, and would even like to see it extended to include education workers as part of a one-stop-shop team, since child abuse is often first noticed by teachers. Further, we would suggest that a key goal should be the reduction of child abuse, using mentors, parenting help, and other forms of support, targeting those families whose children are most at risk.

"Back in 1987, Professor David Fergusson of the Christchurch School of Medicine, through his Christchurch Child Development Study which has followed the fortunes of 1,265 New Zealand children since 1977, warned policy makers about the effect of family structure on the well-being of children: he said that they should `be cautious about accepting enthusiastic claims about the desirability of alternative family structures until the viability or otherwise of these structures has been assessed on the basis of carefully collected empirical evidence'.

"He went on to state that `the dismal statistics emerging from this longitudinal study tend to suggest that this enthusiasm may have been premature or misplaced... While the traditional nuclear family may have limitations as a child-rearing institution, it is open to very serious debate as to whether the alternative of short-term family structures which involves successive transitions between single parent and two parent families will prove to be as effective as a child-rearing institution'.

"A closer look at the information provided to me by the Minister of Police shows that of the nine children who were fatally abused in the year 2000, eight were killed by separated or de-facto parents, with none being killed by a married mother or father.

"According to our Government, however, New Zealanders should be celebrating the emergence of alternative family types, including sole parent families, cohabiting couples, homosexual unions, as well as extended families. The fact that they are promoting the view that the nuclear family unit - consisting of a mother, father and children - is on the way out, and that children do equally well in any of these alternative family structures is worrying. If present trends continue, by the year 2010 a half of European and over three quarters of Maori babies will be born into families where there are no fathers. Unless there is a firm commitment by government to focus on supporting families with children and preventing child abuse, New Zealand's problems will continue to grow", Dr Newman said

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>


More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news