Support For Vulnerable Children Bill One Stage At A Time
UnitedFuture’s Support For Vulnerable Children Bill One Stage At a Time Only
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says he will support the introduction of the Government’s Vulnerable Children Bill today, but he is making no commitments to support the Bill beyond that.
This is because he is wary of its plans to ban suspected child abusers from being near children for up to 10 years.
“I fully understand and support the government’s efforts to halt the scourge of child abuse, as New Zealand has a horrible and unenviable record in that regard, but it is important we take steps that are both credible and fair.
“The sentiment behind the 10 year ban is noble, but the practicalities of enforcing it make it difficult, with the risk that the provision becomes more honoured in the breach.
“While I have no problem at all with a ban being applied to convicted child abusers, the ‘balance of probabilities’ test for suspected child abusers is risky,” he says.
Mr Dunne says that while he expects the government’s proposals to attract strong support, there needs to be full public discussion and consideration of their likely impacts before legislation is passed.
“The legislation has to be workable and credible to avoid the risk of positive change being derailed by unintended consequences.
“I will be watching the select committee process on the bill very closely, and UnitedFuture’s ongoing position on the Bill will be determined by its deliberations.
“If the 10 year provision remains unchanged, it will be very difficult to support the legislation further,” he says.