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The Cupboard is Bare in Addressing Violence

The Cupboard is Bare in Addressing Violence
Tariana Turia; Co-leader, Maori Party

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party, was gravely disappointed today at the hypocrisy of the Labour Party in painting a picture in which Maori and Pasifika peoples are portrayed as the key perpetrators of violence in Aotearoa.

“The Maori Party has this week, been honoured to host the Young Pacific Leaders' Forum at Parliament” said Mrs Turia, “an occasion of incredible energy and Pasifika pride”.

“We also recognise the significance of this week in which tangata whenua are looking forward to celebrating the Declaration of Independence Day this coming Saturday. The Maori Party, in fact, will be gathering together on Saturday for our Annual hui, in recognition of the importance of this day”.

“In the midst of such a positive environment, it is disturbing to see Labour putting out pamphlets in the Family Violence Intervention Project, which prominently show Maori and Pasifika peoples as the perpetrators of violence”.

“While Labour is happy enough to put the brown faces on display as the poster fodder for family violence; they aren’t actually prepared to put their hands into their pockets and support Maori projects to address family violence” said Mrs Turia.

“Dr Sharples asked questions in the House today about the 275 practitioners, registered and licensed through hapu and iwi, as Mauri Ora practitioners”.

“These practitioners have developed incredible skills in working with whanau, hapu and iwi, not to do it for them, but to show them how it can be done and support them to liberate themselves from the burden of whānau violence” said Mrs Turia.

“It used to be the day that Labour would stand by projects like this, knowing that ‘by Maori, for Maori’ works; that people learn best when they are resourced to work out their own solutions; that the answers lie in themselves” said Mrs Turia.

“Nowadays it seems that Labour are prepared to instead say Maori and Pacific people are the problem; and the cupboard is bare” said Mrs Turia.

Additional Information

The Declaration of Independence is an international declaration signed on 28 October 1835 which recognises the sovereignty of the Independent Tribes of New Zealand. It was the forerunner of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Maori Party will be gathering at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology for their Annual General meeting, Saturday 28 October 2006; starting 9am.

Family Violence Intervention Programme—Effectiveness
Questions in the House: Wednesday 25 October 2006
11. ANNE TOLLEY (National—East Coast) to the Minister for Social Development and Employment: Is he satisfied with the effectiveness of the Family Violence Intervention Programme; if not, why not?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE (Minister for Social Development and Employment): Yes.
Anne Tolley: Is the Minister aware that his ministry funded a Family Violence Intervention Programme to train Work and Income staff to address “immediate safety concerns and provide crisis support contact numbers, including New Zealand Police”, and does he not realise that paying $2.3 million for a course to teach Work and Income staff to hand out phone numbers is a waste of taxpayers’ money?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: Yes and—unfortunately the member is typically misinformed—no.
H V Ross Robertson: Can the Minister tell the House what the value is of the Family Violence Intervention Programme?
Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: The Family Violence Intervention Programme is one of a number of initiatives that this Government has undertaken to identify, reduce, and, hopefully, significantly prevent, family violence. This initiative will contribute to the reduction of family violence by upskilling Work and Income staff through training in the provision of information about family violence so that they are better able to identify clients they work with for whom family violence is an issue. It is also about those staff connecting people with appropriate information on services. When a client does disclose family violence, Work and Income case managers work with the client to address his or her immediate safety concerns and provide crisis support contact numbers, including the New Zealand Police.

Dr Pita Sharples: Tenā koe. Tēnā tātou katoa. Does the Minister believe in He Pūtahitanga Hōu, the Labour Party’s vision for Māori development, which the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, confirmed she had an absolute commitment to; if so, does he agree that “by Māori, for Māori” services will meet the needs of Māori in the area of family violence; if not, why not?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I am very pleased to confirm that generally I find community-based solutions the most effective.
Anne Tolley: Why does the Minister support paying $2.3 million for an extravagant course in passing out phone numbers, and is this not yet more evidence of Labour’s politically correct waste of taxpayers’ money?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I think it is unfortunate that the member continues to trivialise really important initiatives in this area. She might not be aware, for example, of over $35 million in this year’s Budget alone, $11.5 million over 4 years for a community prevention campaign around family violence, $9 million over 4 years—[Interruption] Well, I have to comment that the degree of violence being displayed by the Opposition does tell us where their heads are—committed to increased funding for family violence prevention, and $14.8 million over a further 4 years to continue the excellent strategies around the SKIP programme.

Hon Steve Maharey: Can the Minister confirm that the training for the large number of front-line staff in Work and Income began because staff found it difficult to deal with the large number of women who are assaulted and present themselves through the benefit system. They are therefore able to be recognised and helped. We are trying to ensure that women are placed in safe environments when they are in a benefit situation.

Madam SPEAKER: It was very difficult to hear the Minister’s last answer, and I did not intervene. But I will, and members will leave the Chamber unless we can hear the response.

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I can confirm that that is the situation, and we believe that it is really important to deal with this matter sensitively and to support people to make sensible decisions.

Judith Collins: Does he agree that spending $2.3 million to train Work and Income staff, not in counselling services but essentially on how to hand out crisis phone numbers, is totally excessive when that money could be much better spent by Women’s Refuge, which actually does something for women?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: No, the member will be aware of the extensive funding this Government directs towards Women’s Refuge, and I do find it sad that that member trivialises our efforts in this regard. [Interruption]

Dr Pita Sharples: Is the Minister aware that there are currently 275 practitioners registered and licensed through the hapū—

Judith Collins: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Hon Trevor Mallard made an extremely offensive comment to me, and I would like him to withdraw and apologise.

Madam SPEAKER: The member has taken offence. Would the member withdraw and apologise.
Hon Trevor Mallard: I withdraw and apologise.
Hon Pete Hodgson: But it was true.
Madam SPEAKER: I did not hear the comment. I do not want the comment repeated.
Judith Collins: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Hon Pete Hodgson has just gone on to say that the comment was true. I would like him to be asked to withdraw and apologise. I take offence.

Madam SPEAKER: The member has taken offence. Would the member please withdraw and apologise.
Hon Pete Hodgson: I withdraw and apologise.
Dr Pita Sharples: Is the Minister aware that there are currently—[Interruption]
Madam SPEAKER: Will the member please be seated. Could members please just stop the sideshow that is going on in the House, otherwise two members will be leaving the Chamber if they open their mouths again before the end of question time.

Judith Collins: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The Hon Trevor Mallard has yet again made an offensive comment. It is a matter on which, as you are aware, Madam Speaker, I have written a letter to complaint to you, as the Speaker of the House, as a matter of privilege. I ask you to ask Trevor Mallard to withdraw and apologise again.

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: What the member said—and I have no idea whether it is true—was: “But the assailant was convicted.” One cannot take personal offence in this House about a comment made about somebody else.

Hon Bill English: Trevor Mallard interrupted in the middle of our colleague’s question. In every other single case you have thrown members out of the House for that offence.

Madam SPEAKER: No, that is not true. The member will be aware that the rules have changed. Members on his side of the House frequently call out, also. It is a question of whether interjections are permitted. They are permitted. It is the barracking so that members cannot be heard. I want to deal with this point of order. The member has again taken offence. Given that she has taken offence, would the member withdraw and apologise so that we can move forward.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I withdraw and apologise.
Gordon Copeland: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. You have correctly ruled that interjections are allowed during questions, but I understand that interjections are to be directed to the person asking the question or, in the case of the Minister, the person answering the question. What we had was an exchange between a member of the National Party on the one hand and a Labour member on the other hand, actually having a debate about who knows what, whilst Pita Sharples was asking his question. That is not an interjection; that is just disorderly behaviour. I believe that if you allow it to continue, we will continue to see the standard of conduct in this House go downhill.

Madam SPEAKER: I agree with the member. That is why I said that if either of those members opens his mouth again, unless it is to ask or answer a legitimate question, the member will be out of the House.

Dr Pita Sharples: Is the Minister aware that there are currently 275 practitioners registered and licensed through hapū and iwi as Mauri Ora practitioners; if so, what assurances can he give to these 275 practitioners that their skills in the area of domestic violence will not be neglected and ignored, as the contract negotiations conducted with the Ministry of Social Development have been?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: I am prepared to repeat my assurance to the member that effective programmes in this area will be supported by the Ministry of Social Development.

Judith Collins: Were Work and Income staff previously handing out crisis helpline numbers to those clients who disclosed family violence; if they were not, why were they not; and, if they were, why is a $2 million programme now required?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: The member will be only too aware that the workload of front-line Work and Income staff has reduced massively because of our success in moving people into employment. When a National Government was last in power, 160,000 people were unemployed in this country. Now there are fewer than 40,000. [Interruption] If the member would listen, I will answer the question.

Madam SPEAKER: Will members allow the Minister to answer the question, please.
Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: Because of that capacity, Work and Income staff now have the ability to provide a much more extensive service to their clients, including this work, for which they have been specifically trained.

Judith Collins: Is the Minister aware that when opening his Government’s family violence intervention wallet, the overwhelming image is of Māori and Pacific New Zealanders as the victims of family violence, and is that a fair reflection on the vast majority of Māori and Pacific New Zealanders who do not beat their wives and who do not beat their children?

Hon DAVID BENSON-POPE: The member might not be aware that there are 39 of these very valuable resources. I must say that the family violence practitioners who use them, value them, and distribute them do not share that member’s reservations about the value of the resource.


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