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Labour finally agrees with national on grooming

Richard Worth MP
National Party Justice Spokesman

7 April 2005

Labour finally agrees with National on grooming

National's Justice spokesman, Richard Worth, supports the addition of the new offence of sexual grooming, which has been added to the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2), since National was the first party to seek the change, in 2003.

"National sought this in March 2003. It has taken that long for the Labour Government to recognise the need for a law change," says Dr Worth.

"It would have been far better for the provisions to have been inserted when the bill was originally introduced on 9 December 2003.

"It is now being introduced after the select committee reported on the bill, so the change will not be subject to public submission and select committee scrutiny.

"Under this Labour Government, that is par for the course," says Dr Worth.

Attachment: Press Release dated 2003

Explanatory note:
National’s press release dated 5 March 2003

National calls for ‘grooming’ laws in pornography laws

National is calling for the urgent introduction of new laws making it an offence for children to be “groomed” for sexual abuse.

“The Government is not going far enough in simply increasing penalties for the possession and supply of child pornography. It is too easy for paedophiles to go online in internet chat rooms to “groom” or build up a relationship with children, with a view to meeting them in person,” says National’s Justice spokesperson, Richard Worth

“Overseas experience – and here in New Zealand too – shows that chat room contact can quickly escalate to personal contact.

“It’s known that a person can enter a chat room pretending to be a teenager, and win a young person’s trust. A face-to-face meeting is then arranged. It’s unclear how many young New Zealanders have been “groomed” in this way, but in Britain at least a dozen children have been sexually assaulted by people they’ve met through the internet.

“Where an adult is using modern technologies such as the internet or text messaging to meet with a minor, then a presumption should exist in law that such meetings are not for a lawful purpose.

“Britain is considering such laws – and New Zealand should too. This would allow prosecution at an early stage when children are being “groomed” before a (legally) existing sexual offence has been committed. Such laws would apply also to telephone calls and text messaging,” says Mr Worth.

Ends

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