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Anti-violence program deserves Govt intervention

29 June 2004

Hamilton anti-violence program deserves Govt intervention

Green MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos are joining calls from the Hamilton City Council for the Government to fund a precedent-setting domestic violence prevention scheme.

Hamilton's Violence Intervention Programme is likely to be the model for 'family safety teams' in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch that were announced in the recent Budget, even though it is threatened with closure itself because of lack of funding. Hamilton city councillors facing a funding request from the project have said they want "to haul in" the city's Labour MPs to "please explain".

"Failure to support the Violence Intervention Programme would be a scathing condemnation of the Government's attitude to the volunteer sector," said Ms Bradford, the Green Party's Spokesperson on the Community and Volunteer Sector and Children's Affairs.

"It would be particularly ridiculous and offensive if this program fails after being used as a model for the Government's own initiative.

"New anti-violence funding announced in the Budget has been divvied up without an application process or consultation with violence-prevention groups, so it is not all that surprising, unfortunately, that a proven program such as this may slip through the cracks.

"Community groups and projects often have to operate on the margins in a way that the Government needs to start understanding. Even if it eventually comes through with funding, the Government needs to make such decisions with a great deal more expediency. The sort of uncertainty faced by this program is common in the volunteer sector where too many groups are struggling for survival, even under a Labour Government," said Ms Bradford.

Green Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said: "It does not make sense for the Government to be building more prisons while initiatives to reduce violent offending such as Hamilton's Violence Intervention Programme face closure due to lack of funds. Prevention and rehabilitation are the most effective ways of reducing crime, not the simplistic sloganeering of the 'lock up 'em forever' law-and-order brigade, which will only lead to more people being imprisoned and alienated from society and the continuation of the spiral of violence," said Nandor.

"Good on the Hamilton City Council for speaking out on this issue, local bodies need to get more proactive in tackling the Government and its MPs on social issues in their areas," said Ms Bradford.


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