Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Bill to protect children receives unanimous support

Hon Simon Power
Minister of Justice
18 August 2011

Bill to protect children receives unanimous support

Justice Minister Simon Power today welcomed the unanimous report of the Social Services Select Committee in support of a bill to protect vulnerable children from abuse and neglect.

The Crimes Amendment Bill (No 2) was reported back to Parliament today with only minor technical amendments, after the committee considered 39 written and 10 oral submissions.

The bill:

• Creates a new offence of failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child or vulnerable adult from the risk of death, grievous bodily harm, or sexual assault. Failure to take reasonable steps to protect a child or vulnerable adult, knowing they were at risk, will result in charges with a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.

A parent or person over 18 may be found liable if they have frequent contact with the victim, and:

o They are a member of the same household as the victim.
o They do not live in the same household but are so closely connected with it that they are regarded as a member of it.
o They are a staff member of a hospital, institution, or residence where the victim lives.

• Doubles the maximum penalty for cruelty to a child from five years to 10 years' imprisonment. This offence, which deals with ill-treatment and neglect, has also been extended to include vulnerable adults (this relates to those who are in care because of their age, detention, sickness, or mental impairment).

• Extends a legal duty on parents and caregivers, who currently have a duty to provide the necessaries of life, to also take reasonable steps to protect a child or vulnerable adult from injury. Breach of this duty will be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

“New Zealand has an appalling rate of child abuse and this bill sends a very clear message that it’s not okay for people to stand by and do nothing,” Mr Power said.

“Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, and as such they deserve special protection. And at the very least they deserve those closest to them to put their wellbeing and safety first.

“There are no easy solutions to New Zealand’s child abuse problem but this bill will ensure that people who turn a blind eye to abuse are made an example of.”

A number of other measures to tackle child abuse are canvassed in the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.

The bill also:

• Increases the maximum penalty for possession of an offensive weapon from two to three years' imprisonment as part of the Government’s package to respond to concerns about knife crime.
• Amends the definition of the ‘claim of right’ defence so the defence is available only in circumstances where the defendant believed they have a personal right to the property concerned.
• Allows people to be prosecuted if they are caught during a covert police operation targeting sexual grooming.

The Government intends to make further progress on the bill before the house rises for the election.

The select committee report can be found here.

More information on the bill can be found here.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Budget 2022

At base, the political biffo back and forth on the merits of Budget 2022 comes down to only one thing. Who is the better manager of the economy and better steward of social wellbeing – National or Labour? In its own quiet way, the Treasury has buried a fascinating answer to the “who’s best at running an economy during a crisis?” question, at page 57 of the Fiscal Strategy section...


Government: Helps Supermarket Shoppers Get A Fair Deal
Urgent Budget night legislation to stop major supermarkets blocking competitors from accessing land for new stores has been introduced today, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said... More>>

Budget 2022: A Secure Future In Difficult Times
Budget 2022 will help build a high wage, low emissions economy that provides greater economic security, while providing support to households affected by cost of living pressures... More>>


Budget: Climate Investments Provide Path To Economic Security
The Government is investing in New Zealand’s economic security by ensuring climate change funding moves away from short-term piecemeal responses and towards smart, long-term investment... More>>


National: Jacqui Dean To Retire From Parliament In 2023

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean has announced that she will not be seeking re-election at the 2023 election. “I have advised the President and Leader of the National Party that I have decided not to put my name forward... More>>

Classification Office: Following Decision To Ban Manifesto The Buffalo Mass Shooting Livestream Is Now Banned
The livestream video of yesterday’s mass shooting in the United States has now been banned, Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson announced this morning. The decision follows on from his decision yesterday to call in and ban the ‘manifesto... More>>

Borders: New Zealand Poised To Welcome International Students Back
New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today... More>>




InfoPages News Channels