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Bennett should swap the cheap shots for solutions

6 June 2012

Bennett should swap the cheap shots for solutions

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s latest dog-whistle over child abuse might have populist appeal but does nothing to solve the plight of vulnerable children, the Green Party said today.

Ms Bennett told reporters today she didn’t mean to say that Cabinet was considering the sterilisation of parents who she considered unfit, during an interview with Michael Laws last week.

“Regardless of what she really meant, she’s had her latest cheap thrill at the expense of real policy,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Tūrei said.

“By telling Laws that Cabinet ‘was completely fed up with these children continuously being born to completely unfit parents’ and was discussing ways to stop their parents breeding, Ms Bennett knows she has popular appeal.

“But she also knows that such a policy is unlikely to save a single child’s life, is impossible to implement and is a waste of time and resources that could go into finding real solutions to keeping kids safe.

“She is so busy blaming children and mothers that she is not addressing the fact that thousands of women and children cry out for help each year and are not getting it.

“Family violence is a complex problem that needs intelligent solutions. Sterilisation of parents, and linking contraception to benefits, do not make the grade.

“The Minister needs to oversee a mind shift in the approach to family violence that brings all professionals dealing with it together in a shared understanding of what family violence is, and what causes it, and then agree on common goals and strategies to tackle it.

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“To achieve that there needs to be political leadership, not cheap shots.

“The Maori Affairs select committee today heard that often removing a child from their family – especially a Maori child – does not necessarily make them safe.

“Whanau solutions must be sought. But this won’t happen if the whanau feels under attack from the Government.

“Any plan to tackle child abuse needs to both encourage people to seek help, while also ensuring that they get it.” Mrs Turei said.


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