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Children’s Commissioner Misleads Public - Again


29 October 2008

Children’s Commissioner Misleads Public - Again

Family First NZ says that the Children’s Commissioner has knowingly misled the public on child abuse statistics, but that it is not first time that she has done so.

In a Sunday Star Times article last year, Dr Cindy Kiro said that 88 children were killed in a five year period. These were repeated in a Dominion Post article this year on Dr Kiro.

But blogger Lindsay Mitchell has obtained an admission from Dr Kiro under the Official Information Act that the figures are inaccurate, and that the real figure was 35.

“Despite the gross inaccuracy of the figures, Dr Kiro allowed them to be republished in an interview a year after the first incorrect report and despite being aware of the misrepresentation,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “On such an important issue which it could be argued the Children’s Commissioner should be leading the debate on with facts and solutions, she has misled the public.”

“However this is not the first time. In 2006, at the height of the anti-smacking bill debate, Dr Kiro along with Sue Bradford, EPOCH and Barnardos misrepresented the child abuse statistics from both NZ and Sweden. They said ‘Around one child a month dies at the hands of a parent or caregiver in New Zealand. In Sweden, the average annual deaths attributable to child abuse for the past 30 years or so has been less than one every four years.’”

“In fact the actual rate of child abuse deaths in Sweden had averaged around seven every year and has sometimes been as high as twelve, according to recent comments by Sweden’s public health minister.”

“It is a disgrace that a senior public servant is misrepresenting the facts and failing to correct them publicly when they are proved wrong. It also suggests an ideological bias and lack of objective analysis.”

“NZ urgently needs robust debate on the important topic of child abuse – but to do this, we must start with facts,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“There are now serious questions around the credibility of the Children’s Commissioner in this debate.”



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