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Maori Party supports Children’s Commissioner

Maori Party supports Children’s Commissioner
Statement by Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples 4 April 2008


The Maori Party strongly endorses the Children’s Commissioner’s views on the Summary Offences (Tagging and Graffiti Vandalism) Amendment Bill, says co-leader Dr Pita Sharples.

“The most significant thing about Cindy Kiro’s reasoned and rational submission to the Select Committee is that she actually listened to the voices of young people before rushing to judgement,” said Dr Sharples.

“Her Young People’s Reference Group told the Commissioner they thought tagging showed a lack of respect by taggers, for a community that left them feeling alienated and disaffected.

“Property owners absolutely have rights that must be respected, but there is a challenge for communities around how we support our alienated young people and encourage them to find positive ways of participating.”

“Punitive, knee-jerk legislation to criminalise anti-social behaviour will not solve complex problems such as tagging and graffiti,” said Dr Sharples.

“As Cindy Kiro pointed out, unauthorised tagging and graffiti are already illegal, and we have many good laws to deal with care and protection of children, and youth offending,” Dr Sharples said. “We don’t need this new law.”

“At a sport and recreation conference today, I called for action to redress the lack of community facilities and after-school activities in large areas in my electorate. While we are happy to accept the elite among our young people into the All Blacks and the Warriors, there are huge numbers who get left by the wayside, and who get into trouble.

“Healthy communities listen to voices of dissent, voices of protest, and to young people – and the Maori Party supports those who take the time to do that,” Dr Sharples concluded.


ENDS


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