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Dyson’s claims on bush children questionable

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Associate Welfare (CYF) Spokeswoman

9 April 2008

Dyson’s claims on bush children questionable

Ruth Dyson’s claims that the 13 children living rough in the bush near Wairoa are being ‘properly looked after’ are questionable in the least, says National’s Associate Welfare (CYF) spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.

Mrs Tolley says she’s dismayed at the lengths the Minister will go to to defend her inaction over the family that has been living in tents, with no drinking water, no toilets, and no cooking facilities, for months.

“Ruth Dyson told media today that ‘CYF has been in almost daily contact’ with the family and that ‘the children are being properly looked after’. She also described the area they are living in as a ‘camping ground’.

“None of those claims can be further from the truth. It took CYF two months to respond in writing to my concerns, and even then staff said the case ‘did not present as an imminent danger or threat…’. I suspect the so-called ‘almost daily contact’ the Minister talks about has happened only in the past 24 hours, since the case came to light in the media.

“Ruth Dyson’s attempt to paint the family’s circumstances as some sort of camping holiday are a disgrace. If that’s true, why are her officials at the Ministry of Social Development scrambling around in some sort of frenzied panic.

“These children can hardly be being ‘properly looked after’ when 10 of them have been missing from school since August last year.

“The Minister should admit she’s got a serious problem on her hands and that no amount of obfuscation will hide the fact that she has failed – and continues to fail - this family.”


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