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


Media Statement From Safeguarding Children/Tiakina Ngā Tamariki

A recent media story highlighting the fact that a convicted paedophile has worked on a popular New Zealand children’s tv show reveals the serious inadequacies of current legislation which is supposed to protect our children, according to Safeguarding Children CEO Willow Duffy.

“We echo the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns about the current systemic weakness when it comes to the protection of children. Rather than providing a framework for adequate training, risk identification, and child protection, our legislation has gaping holes through which predators can easily slip, which the production company’s hiring decision clearly illustrates.

“It appears, for example, that the Children’s Act 2014 would not class the screen industry as a “Regulated Service”. Only those services who fall into the category of regulated services are legally required to carry out police checks on employees. Therefore, the presenters and crew would not be classed as core or even non-core workers, a classification which would trigger safety checking.

“We note that the screen industry has been reportedly urgently drafting vetting guidelines to ensure children are safe. We have reached out to the industry to provide our expertise in this area and hope that they will work with an appropriately qualified organisation to make sure their policies and procedures and training are fit for purpose.

Duffy says that best practice, in the best interests of the child, would support police checks, reference checks, and the adoption of child protection policies for the screen industry in New Zealand, but our legislation does not require this. Even then police vetting alone is not enough. Thorough reference checks to explore the suitability of a person to work with children are just as important. Someone may never have come to the attention of the police, but their behaviours and attitude towards children may be unsafe. Reference checks are crucial to identify people who are not suitable to work with children.

Internationally, as a result of cases such as the Jimmy Saville case, standards have been put in place to protect children but Duffy says that she can find none for New Zealand.

“Regardless of how an organisation is funded, whether it is linked to the government, or whether its services are classed as regulated or not, children have right to be safe and parents and carers have a right to expect their children to be safe. If any organisation is engaging with children they must make provision to keep those children safe.”

Duffy says that her organisation, Safeguarding Children, regularly sees child protection policies that are not fit for purpose, but those same organisations would pass a compliance audit as they can say that they have a policy in place.

Duffy says that if child protection is compared with New Zealand’s approach to workplace health and safety the difference is stark and unacceptable.

“The Children’s Act is a piece of legislation that doesn’t provide a carrot or a stick. The lack of auditing of standards and a compliance ‘tick box’ approach combined with weak wording around training to identify child abuse means that our children remain vulnerable.

“Our research shows that many staff don’t know if their organisation has a child protection policy or have never seen it. Our children deserve better.”

The volunteer sector is of particular concern, says Duffy. “Volunteers do not have to be safety checked according to the legislation, yet services to children in New Zealand rely heavily on volunteers. Based on our experience, we know that people who seek to harm children and are unable to pass police vetting in paid employment will seek voluntary roles working with children.”

Duffy says that the Children’s Act needs reviewing and revisiting and should include any service working with children, not just those linked to government or funded by government. She is calling for revised legislation to include volunteers and for it contain stronger wording around child protection training.

“Organisational funding needs to be tied to high quality and embedded approaches to safeguarding children, not a passive box ticking exercise. As a country we need to demand more and demand better for our tamariki.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Apparent Inability To Read The Public Mood

The basic skill that a successful politician needs is the ability to “read the room” and gauge the public mood. If National Party leader Judith Collins ever possessed that ability, it seems to have deserted her of late. Surely, very, very few of the public would agree with Collins and her deputy Gerry Brownlee when they claim :
(a)that the threat from Covid-19 means that the election due on September 19 must be postponed until November, or sometime next year
(b) that in the middle of the current outbreak the government is obliged to hand over all the relevant decision- making to the top officials in the public service... More>>


Government: Plan To Tackle Problem Plastics

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Lockdowns, Leadership And Lebanon

As Melbourne has shown, the webs of urban life overlap so extensively that community transmission can be very hard to trace, let alone control. Each of the family members in the South Auckland family at the centre of the current outbreak will have had ... More>>


National: Emma Mellow As Auckland Central Candidate

Tonight the National Party has selected Emma Mellow to stand in the Auckland Central electorate for the 2020 General Election. Emma Mellow replaces retiring MP Nikki Kaye who first won the seat from Labour in 2008. Emma leads a team of communications ... More>>


Travel: Update On New Zealand And The Cook Islands Bubble

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. More>>

Election 2020: Labour Launch

E ngā mana e ngā reo Ngāti whātua ngā mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau, e tika te kōrero Ehara taku toa he toa (taki tahi) he toa (taki tini) No rēira tātou e huihui mai nei, ka ‘Hoake tonu tātou’ Thank you for that welcome. And thank ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme

A quick quiz for the weekend. Which political party currently represented in Parliament issued a press release yesterday that contained these stirring passages: “[We have] long supported a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New ... More>>


Democracy 2.0: NextElection Partners With Scoop For Exciting Democracy Tech

Joint Press Release: NextElection, Scoop.co.nz, ScoopCitizen NextElection , a technology platform empowering democracy and Government accountability, and Scoop Independent News have partnered to strengthen citizen participation in the 2020 New Zealand General ... More>>


Covid-19: Poll On Management Approval

New Zealanders’ overall trust in the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is at 82%, down from 91% during April. Overall distrust that the Ministry and Government will manage it in ways which best protect themselves More>>

Election 2020: National Releases 2020 Party List

National’s 2020 Party List is a strong mix of experience coming up through our Caucus, and new and exciting talent joining our team from communities across New Zealand, Party President Peter Goodfellow says. “The National Party is incredibly ... More>>

Horizon Research Limited: How Judith Collins Stopped The Bleeding

Horizon Research includes questions on voting from time to time in its surveys – for both forthcoming referenda and general elections. More>>

Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>






InfoPages News Channels