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Lives Cut Short an issue of Moral Urgency

“Lives Cut Short an issue of Moral Urgency’ says Tariana Turia

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Thursday 6 December 2007

The Maori Party recognises the particular vulnerability of tamariki Maori identified in the report, Lives Cut Short, as an issue of moral urgency that all New Zealanders should care about.

“One death of a child is one death too many” said Mrs Turia. “Families must be vigilant and take collective responsibility to ensure that the homes of our tamariki are alcohol and drug free”.

“No child abuse issue can be ignored” said Mrs Turia. “Whanau must be supported and assisted to respond pro-actively to both ensure child safety, and that their connections are maintained” said Mrs Turia.

“At some point, we all have to look at how we are living – to place a stake in the ground - to ask serious questions about the fatal cocktail of alcohol and drugs in some family homes, the pressure of material demands, the lack of family support – and we must all stop thinking it’s someone else’s problem”.

“But we must always be aware that there is a wider economic and political context to child deaths. We are of course, all too aware as the report concludes, that the effects of the economic reforms of the 80s and 90s, have created a “significantly disadvantaged group that has disproportionately included Maori””.

“But we cannot excuse the deaths of tamariki” stated Mrs Turia.

“I am interested in the suggestion from the report that rethinking our response to child homicide has the potential to ‘increase our understanding of the dynamics that place children at risk’” said Mrs Turia.

“We need to foster a culture of whanau development” said Mrs Turia.

“We know there are many great ways to engage our families, and to talk with them about how to be the best parents they can be” said Mrs Turia. “I heard today, about a brilliant idea that the Amokura Project trialled in Kaikohe, where families were given parenting information while waiting in line for a family portrait”.

“Sometimes it just takes a bit of creative thinking, about how to engage with our families, and provide practical help that will make the difference” said Mrs Turia.

“We note also that the report urges all those in the child welfare system to build “systems of response that resonate with cultural practices” as well as requiring a purposeful and complex mix of services rather than to go down the track of quick fixes that do not endure” said Mrs Turia.

“We congratulate Mike Doolan and Marie Connolly on a very insightful and helpful resource, which may help us all to achieve strong and vibrant families where no child is ever subjected to violence”.

“We must be vigilant and committed to nurturing our tamariki by being the best whanau we can be” said Mrs Turia.

ENDS

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