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Govt Rebukes Comments of Children’s Commissioner


9 April 2008

Government Rebukes Extremist Comments of Children’s Commissioner

Family First NZ is welcoming comments by the government today that they do not support the outrageous and out-of-touch comments of the Children’s Commissioner in relation to tagging and graffiti.

In response to questioning in parliament today, the Minister for Social Development distanced the government from statements made by the Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro in support of the rights of children and tagging.

Comments by Dr Kiro to the Select Committee considering the anti-tagging bill included:

 for some people, graffiti and tagging are seen as legitimate art forms. There is history and social commentary behind these art forms....

 interestingly, these public spaces are often environments that children and young people are alienated from…

 solutions need to appropriately balance the rights of property owners and the rights of children and young people ...

Councils, shop owners and private property owners who are spending millions every year painting out graffiti will be rightfully disgusted at these comments by Dr Kiro. Dr Kiro may also like to explain why skateboard bowls, video shops, youth centres, schools and playgrounds – supposedly environments for young people – are victims of tagging.

Family First NZ is calling for cross-party support of the Summary Offences (Tagging and Graffiti Vandalism) amendment Bill in an important first step to communicate the community’s disgust and opposition to tagging and to redirect the ‘artistic talent’, spare time and unused energy of a small group of at-risk youth into constructive activity. It is also just as important to examine the role of family and parents in this behaviour.

The Children’s Commissioner is not only out of step again with the community, but now her employer as well.


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