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Misleading answers from Dyson under scrutiny

Katherine Rich National Party MP

21 March 2006

Misleading answers from Dyson under scrutiny

National Party MP Katherine Rich says Ruth Dyson has lost all perspective in continuing to defend CYF handling of Baby J, a child who suffered tragic injuries after being placed in her mother's care.

"Her cult-like defence of the indefensible makes thinking New Zealanders worry about what is going on in the department that cares for our nation's most vulnerable.

"When asked about the history of this case in Parliament during June 2004, Ruth Dyson defended CYF's decision and said the child's mother 'did not have a history of either physical or sexual abuse of her own children'.

"Even today, in confirming her statements a sixth time, Ms Dyson clings to a very narrow definition of what constitutes physical abuse.

"I can only conclude as a result of her comments to the House today that in her view, starving a two-year-old toddler so that he was the weight of a six-month-old baby is not physical abuse - that giving a child in her care a black eye, is not physical abuse - that throwing a telephone at a child's head, is not physical abuse.

"She is clearly out of touch with the views of New Zealanders.

"Child Youth and Family's report into the case confirms there was 'considerable evidence' of risk of 'potentially serious neglect' of Baby J, and still he was left in his mother's care.

"Ms Dyson seems to think that an unsafe house because of neglect and an unsafe house because of abuse are two different things. These cute delineations promoted by the Minister are of no consolation to Baby J and his siblings.

"And thus far, I have seen no evidence that the planned merger between CYF and the Social Development Ministry will make one iota of difference to children like Baby J," says Mrs Rich.


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