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Votes A Small Trade-Off For A Child's Life

Votes A Small Trade-Off For A Child's Life

Three-year-old Nia Glassie will now be added to the already long list of children who have been seriously and horrendously abused by those entrusted with their care, ACT New Zealand Social Services Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Verbal outrage by the public and politicians alike will do nothing to prevent the same terrible violence from being inflicted on our precious children in the future," Mrs Roy said.

"Today, the Government is promising to launch yet another 'plan' - but unless confronting the serious issues of family breakdown and welfare dependency are tackled head-on, this 'plan' will be meaningless.

"How many more children must be damaged in this way - how many more 'plans' put in place - before the Government realises that knee-jerk reactions to one-off incidents never work? Only tackling the root of the problem - no matter how hard this might be - will have any effect at all.

"Since the death of the Kahui twins last year we have had shock, horror, outrage, a Cross-Party Group on Family Violence, and law making it illegal for parents to smack their children - and where has it gotten us? Nowhere.

"Now we have more abuse in the papers and the outrage is back. In typical political fashion neighbours are being criticised for not reporting abuse, the community is being exhorted to be more watchful and child abuse has been labelled a 'Maori problem'.

"But we should not be looking at who to blame - rather, we should be asking WHAT to blame. I have attended every meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Family Violence set up after the Kahui twins died. Despite numerous attempts, there was no willingness by any other committee member to even discuss - let alone tackle - welfare dependency.

"Rather, this issue - which has a direct correlation to child abuse - was placed in the 'too hard' basket, because making meaningful change to welfare in New Zealand might cost Labour some support when the election rolls around.

"Enough is enough; the time for fiddling around the edges is over. It is time for Labour to prove its commitment to the nation's most vulnerable children - losing a few votes next year is a small price to pay for saving a child's life," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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