Friday, July 27, 2007

Calls for Independent Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse

Media Release - Family First NZ | 27 July 2007

Family First NZ is joining with For the Sake of our Children Trust in calling for an official Inquiry into the unacceptable levels of child abuse in NZ.

The call comes after the horrific case of a Rotorua child fighting for her life as a result of abuse. Her step-father and other household members have been charged with assault.

"The ban on smacking was simply an admission by politicians that they could not and would not tackle the real causes of child abuse as identified by recent CYFS and UNICEF reports," says Bob McCoskrie of Family First.

"The 80% plus of NZ'ers who opposed Bradford's bill are not people who were demanding the right to "thrash and beat" children as suggested by Helen Clark. They were simply kiwis who were exasperated with the fact that politicians and supposed child welfare groups were more interested in targeting good parents and light smacking than tackling the tougher issues of family breakdown, drug and alcohol abuse, violence in our media, poverty, and weak family ties."

"The anti-smacking bill has been a spectacular failure because it has failed to identify and target the real issues. It was simply about a political agenda rather than practical solutions."

"An Otara couple who could be out of prison in only four years for the recent horrific abuse of their three year old shows that we simply aren't placing enough emphasis and resources on sending a clear message to child abusers that their actions are unacceptable. These type of people probably think section 59 is the main road into Wellington."

Since the passing of the amendment to section 59, there has been a continual stream of child abuse cases including:
June 2007
* Porirua mum and step-father charged with mistreating 3 children, including 5 year old admitted to Wellington Hospital with serious head injuries
* 16 month old Remuera boy dies after beating while in care of relative
* 28-year-old woman charged with murdering a newborn baby found dead in the backyard of a Te Mome Road property in Alicetown.
* Death of 22 month old Tokoroa girl from severe burns – being cared for by step-father. Claims was burnt in hot shower but 17 hour delay before arriving at hospital. Still under investigation.
July 2007
* Hawkes Bay father shoots daughter with air rifle. Convicted and jailed for 6 months
* Christchurch mum-of-two found at P Lab. Charged with failing to provide necessaries of life and allowing home to be used for manufacturing P
* 3-year-old Rotorua girl seriously ill after 3 weeks of abuse allegedly by stepfather and extended family

"This latest case is yet another wake-up call, following on from the high-profile Kahui case, that children will never be safe until we are honest enough as a country to identify and tackle the real causes of child abuse."

"An independent Inquiry would be an important first step," says Mr McCoskrie

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The auction for the Timaru Lady cane

Oh, give me a break. There is nothing at all wrong with the Timaru Lady listing the cane on Trademe for sale. It's a piece of New Zealand history, and maybe someone wants it more than her. And likewise, there's nothing wrong with anyone bidding on the cane. Bradford was quoted as saying:"It's a real tragedy that something that's been used to beat a child is being glorified and sold for profit". The cane is hardly being glorified. And this website is not a "pro-smacking site".


This article from
The Dominion Post | Thursday, 26 July 2007

Green MP Sue Bradford says she is appalled that a cane linked to a notorious child discipline case has cropped up for sale in an internet auction.

The MP who forced a rewrite of laws governing smacking described the Trade Me sale as "ugly", particularly because someone was seeking to gain from a child's pain.

The implement, once wielded by a Timaru mother, is being marketed as "the cane that changed the law".

The woman, who has name suppression and is believed to be the seller, was acquitted in 2005 of assaulting her 13-year-old son with a riding crop and a bamboo cane.

What became known as "the Timaru horsewhip case" proved a rallying point for those on either side of Ms Bradford's controversial anti-smacking law.

"It's a real tragedy that something that's been used to beat a child is being glorified and sold for profit," she said yesterday.

"It's a real indictment on the person selling it. Even though a court let them off, it was that type of case that lay behind a lot of my motivation for the bill."

By 6pm yesterday, the auction had attracted only three bids.

The top bid of $5 was lodged by Andrew Moore, a self-described "Christiana/student/entrepreneur" from Christchurch and a contributor to pro-smacking site.

The tongue-in-cheek blurb for the auction said the cane would suit a range of purposes.

"It could become a cop and go on a stake out!! ... It could become an Silver Fern so they can continue to cane the Aussies ... It could join the American Army ... I hear they're looking for weapons of m'ass destruction!"

The cane was listed under the user name "come-a-cropper", from Timaru.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said he understood it was being sold by the mother.

"I'm not sure if she's making a political point or fundraising for legal costs."

The woman and her husband are facing another trial for alleged assault of another son.

In April, the woman displayed the cane and her riding crop in a video posted on