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


Are Ministers being gagged on lockdown family violence?

Are Ministers being gagged on lockdown family violence?

Two Cabinet Ministers, two Commissioners and a Director-General have been sent an open ‘please explain’ email by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, over what it says is an unsatisfactory silence over lockdown family violence. Two weeks on, only one has replied.

Stop Demand says our shameful statistics are well known. New Zealand ranks as having amongst the highest rate of family violence in the OECD. Police recorded a staggering 165,039 reported ‘family violence occurrences’ in 2020; some 76% of incidents go unreported. Maori women are twice as likely to experience violence as non-Maori women. Family violence soared during last year’s lockdowns despite reporting numbers being down.

Stop Demand, which calls for action to stop sexual violence against women and children, is scathing of the current silence and invisibility of the Minister for Family and Sexual Violence (FVSV) Hon Marama Davidson and the Minister for Children Hon Kelvin Davis.

Founder Denise Ritchie says, “These Ministers hold key portfolios. We’re now into our fifth week of lockdown. Early on, the PM told women they could leave violent relationships during lockdown. But that’s been it. Given the heightened risks to women and kids, of being sexually violated and bashed, where is Minister Davidson? Why is the Government not running family violence prevention messages across all media, alongside its Covid PSAs?”

As the nation’s top advocates for children, Minister Davis and Commissioner for Children Judge Andrew Becroft have been urged to visibly ‘step up’, to assure children they have their backs, and to confront their mostly-male abusers. “There is a time for reading and writing reports. This is not one of them,” wrote Ritchie. “As men they can address men, Davis can reach Maori men.” But, she adds, “A feeble ‘be kind’ message won’t cut it. Male offenders need a blunt ‘mate, keep your fists in your pockets and your penis in your pants’.”

The Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and Director–General of Public Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield have likewise been questioned. Stop Demand says that while both have a lot on their plates, they are nonetheless strategic advisors to the government on FVSV.

”Disappointingly, neither has used their near-daily platforms, stand ups, calls outs and media interviews to address this scourge,” says Ritchie. “For Bloomfield, family violence is a public health crisis on his watch. Likewise with Coster, as regards crime and resourcing. Yet it seemed the key message from the Commissioner, before the terrorist attack, was to thank

Covid rule-keepers and note a few miscreants. Our ‘top cop’ needs to be putting some backbone into speaking out and condemning those responsible for the abysmal 165,000 family harm callouts by his staff last year and violence over lockdowns. Why isn’t he?”

Pressing ‘mute’ on an epidemic that is arguably as critical as the pandemic raises questions. Do our top advocates not consider this important enough? Or have they been gagged, as alleged during last year’s lockdowns, from messaging on unpalatable truths that do not fit the ‘good news’ mantra and positive PR spin that is being pressed into the nation’s psyche?


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Epic Fails Of Kris Faafoi

Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither been kind nor just, especially to the migrants whose skills New Zealand will need to get us through Covid, and grow the economy into the future... More>>

Covid-19 & Government: Government Green Lights Rapid Antigen Testing

Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall... More>>



Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>


Government: Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast... More>>

Healthcare: Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>

Children's Commissioner: Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
The Children’s Commissioner and Assistant Māori Commissioner are calling for a plan for the mandatory vaccination of teachers and the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand... More>>




InfoPages News Channels