Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Teen Sex Education, Going Dutch

Teen Sex Education, Going Dutch

The Ministry of Justice is to be commended for re-examining the law surrounding age of consent, however Labour’s abrupt U-turn would have us criminalise half of all teenagers who continue to experiment sexually outside the law. The attitude of ‘sending the clear message’ that underage sex is wrong ignores reality and has thus far maintained burgeoning STD's and Pregnancy rates. Sanctimony has won the day, with barely a thought given to examining what the impediments to the desired health outcomes might be.

Why aren’t the health and safety messages getting through to teens. Why are kiwi kids so rebellious? Why are we not delving a little deeper and recognising that ‘just say no’ is a phrase that is perhaps understandably greeted with no small amount of ridicule by the youth culture?

Other jurisdictions, including 20 other European countries have ages of consent lower than 16 for sexual relations. (Contrary to a recent Waikato Times oped. 25may). These include Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Iceland and Spain, however, it is the Netherlands where age of consent is 12yrs that we may well learn the most from.

Dutch youth STD's, pregnancy's and abortions are but a fraction of ours, and Holland puts to shame our repressed and repressive' outmoded public health education and laws. Why do I use these words?

In the civil society of Holland where adults may freely partake in the use of marijuana and magic mushrooms it appears non-judgmental (read non-criminalised) values are those best received by young people. Sex education, contraceptive advice and safer sex materials to teenagers under 16 are part of a successful ‘harm reduction’ rationale. Dutch early entry drug uptake is also notably only a fraction of NZ’s.

Liberal Dutch attitudes have not led to any increase in the sexual abuse of young people, and abortions in girls under 16 are less than twenty percent our own. Dutch teenagers have their first sexual experience at a later age than their British counterparts according to research by 'Heart of the Matter' (BBC TV, 17 July 1994). Dutch teens also defer other risk taking behaviors including drug and alcohol use where they have a laudable predisposition to "moderation" compared to our binge culture. See the linkages anyone? This must leave a few family values advocates wondering. [It certainly leaves me, a father of two teens curious as to what standard do we judge Dutch policy before we can attribute it as being successful?.]

Teens, while protected by laws against rape and indecent assault are empowered to greater sexual wisdom and responsibility by having the legal right to make their own decisions about sexual relationships without being victimised, threatened or alienated by the law. Youth sex is not something sordid and thus hidden, nor is it compulsory. NZ's criminal youth-sex laws are responsible for levels of deception, aggression and suicide curiously absent from the Dutch youth data suggesting informed and confident young people are more likely to resist sexual exploitation and report abuse than those who are sexually ignorant and ashamed.

In the absence of healthy debate maybe there is truth in the old addage that forbidden fruit indeed tastes sweetest.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Government: Traffic Light Levels Announced

The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why An Attack On Iran Is Back On The Agenda

Reportedly, Christopher Luxon has the edge on Simon Bridges in National’s leadership contest although there is no firm evidence for that hunch. So, one hesitates about joining a media echo chamber that amplifies Luxon’s chances ahead of the 3pm caucus meeting today. You know how it goes: Luxon doesn’t quite have the numbers, so his people start talking to the media to make him seem like the smart bet. Or even perhaps: Luxon hasn't got the numbers, and his people start talking to the media to talk up his support so that he gets a nicer consolation prize... More>>


Government: Delivers Reactivation Package As Aucklanders Reconnect For Summer
A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash... More>>

Government: Crown Accounts Reflect Strong Economy Amid Pandemic

The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year... More>>


National: Christopher Luxon Elected Party Leader
Christopher Luxon has been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party, alongside Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. “It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Mr Luxon says... More>>

Waitangi National Trust: Waitangi Week
The Waitangi National Trust has decided there will be no in-person events at Waitangi Treaty Grounds during Waitangi Week 2022. Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework it would be practically impossible to safely proceed with the usual events of Waitangi commemorations... More>>

Freedom Camping: Making Sure People Are Up To Play With Changes
People interested in finding out how the proposed improvements to freedom camping might affect them are being invited to an information-sharing webinar... More>>

AUT: Aucklanders Are Less Concerned With Covid
In reaction to commentary that Aucklanders are at breaking point after more than 100 days in lockdown and that compliance with the rules is under threat, AUT Emeritus Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers says... More>>




InfoPages News Channels