The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children

July 27th, 2011 at 2:59 pm by David Farrar

Paula Bennett launched the first green paper in 14 years at Aotea Square this afternoon. By coincidence I was up in Auckland (for the Blair lunch tomorrow) so I popped along. Excellent speeches by Sir Peter Gluckman and Paula, plus some amazing singing and performances from various young musicians.

The only protesters were Penny Bright and the Men’s Rights brigade – five in total.

The Government poses solutions to complex issues facing children and then asks the public to consider the questions that are raised by those issues, including:

• When should adults who care for vulnerable children be prioritised for services over others?
• How can the Government encourage communities to take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their children?
• How much monitoring of vulnerable children should the Government allow?

“What it doesn’t do is tell people what to think. It is intentionally written in a way that lets people make up their own mind,” say Ms Bennett.

“This is a genuinely open consultation process, giving New Zealanders a chance to have a real say in how we protect our children,” says Ms Bennett.

There are many policy issues I care deeply about – tax rates, performance pay for teachers, youth minimum wage etc etc. But let me tell you that I’d trade them all for some measures which would reduce the level of in New Zealand. There is nothing worse than a young person not having a happy and productive childhood.

If it would make a difference, I’d happily have those caring for vulnerable children prioritised for services.

The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children can be found online at:

www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz

www.facebook.com/greenpaperonchildren

The actual green paper is directly here. It’s only 40 pages, and an easy read. For me one of the key questions is:

When should government agencies step in and intervene with families and whanau?

I think one there has been one major adverse incident, then the threshold for intervention should be relatively low.

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73 Responses to “The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children”

  1. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    You seriously want to reduce the incidence the answer lies in restoring the family to the center of civic life.

    Stop subsidizing illegitimacy and family breakdown, Reinforce the notions of personal responsibility and commitment to your own by ending no fault divorce etc.

    Mum, Dad, three kids and a dog is the way to go.

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  2. Viking2 (10,744 comments) says:

    Another bloody great waste of time and monery we capitalists have had to pay the socialists for.
    Remove welfare and allow people to go to work. Remove the barriers to people succeeding.
    This is as bad as Flavels mouthing of about the lids that committ suicide.

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  3. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    If you want to deal to poverty than do it buy peoples upward mobility not OPM.
    Flat Income tax or massive GST and no ITax.
    Cull the tax codes and as many of the others as we can, least taxes is the goal.

    All government policies to co-ordinate around the natural nuclear family.
    Restore Father and Mother in all legislation.
    Go after the offenders not the great unwashed.

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  4. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    This is a big issue, as Bennett says, one of the most important we can deal with, we currently have major repeat problems across generations of families.

    So far the excuses here are as bad as they are on The Standard and elsewhere, just different.

    The kids deserve far better than to be fobbed off with the same pathetic old excuses.
    We need to do more for them!

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  5. AG (1,727 comments) says:

    “The only protesters were Penny Bright and the Men’s Rights brigade …”

    I like the idea of these folks standing alongside each other in protest at moves to help protect the most vulnerable in society – tempted to say that they deserve each other …

    [DPF: Very tempting. And kudos to Green co-leader Metiria Turei who turned up. Doesn't mean she is agreeing with the Green Paper, but thought it was good of her to be engaging in good faith]

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  6. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    The kids deserve far better than to be fobbed off with the same pathetic old excuses.
    We need to do more for them!

    Yes, Pete George, yes – but what and how?

    That is the $64,000 question.

    And more Government intrusive intervention aint the answer, I promise.

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  7. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    No solutions there, just more waffle to fudge the issues and avoid confronting the causes and resolving the problems.

    They need to identify the problems, then empower one small department devoid of scientists and researchers etc to resolve them. Most of the answers can be found in the situation that existed before the problems arose. The Domestic Purposes Benefits, the empowerment of children while dis-empowering their parents, the outlawing of discipline from cradle to and including prison spring immediately to mind.
    The Political reluctance to do anything about the societal breakdowns is illustrated by the ‘Green Paper’ opening with bloody Treaty Nonsense, thats at the heart of the problem and as long as its there we will only get soft fluffy illusions of progress.

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  8. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    People keep complaining if Government doesn’t consult enough, and when they do consult the only thing that changes is the pitch of the whining.

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  9. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    I’d have thought a good starting place would be understanding in full depth why it is that the question of prioritisation of people based on need does not ever arise in supermarkets, petrol stations, electricity, motor vehicles of both low and high value, telephone and internet access, just about everything except health care.

    The fact that such questions as prioritisation in these other industries do not arise at the same time as there is at all times scarcity of all resources is something of a miracle, but nevertheless one that has not yet been solved by health care when it has by everything else.

    I rather suspect mispricing combined with the hard constraint that the limited supply of highly qualified doctors poses combined with badly underpaying that expertise relative to world prices. With water councils can always throw a bit more money at the problem and see the bottlenecks solved. Government wont see much immediate bang for its buck in throwing more money at doctors, and the sector is so hopelessly captured by unions that any attempt to raise doctor’s pay will immediately produce demands by every health worker for the same increase.

    My experience is that it can be amazing how long you can talk to a health worker before the problem of making sick people well gets mentioned. Pay equity seems more important. Which is fine if you happen not to have a dodgy hip.

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  10. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    I agree with Andrei. A cohesive family with a demonstrably strong partnership between the parents is the ideal. How do we go about encouraging that behaviour?

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  11. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    RightNow
    One step would be to allow same-sex marriage.

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  12. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Best coverage I have read

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5338700/Minister-ready-for-onslaught-on-abuse

    For the family centered
    “Teenage parents were the most vulnerable group, Bennett said. About 4500 babies were born every year to teenagers receiving a benefit.
    About 1200 of those were aged 16 or 17 years old and 45 per cent would have another child while still on a benefit, she said. ”

    Its manly a Maori problem wrapped up in poverty alcohol and drug abuse and lack of direction
    These problems come about because Maori do not engage in society
    mincing around this issue does us no benefit at all

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  13. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    One step would be to allow same-sex marriage.

    Yeah pander to a group that is pathologically self absorbed, self centered and not re-productively viable then the whole problem will evaporate.

    And the left are puzzled as to why they are considered to be morons?

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  14. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    Andrei

    Ha ha ha. Just seeing who’s biting.

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  15. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    Of course, why do something, which is time-consuming, costs money and is way beyond the Minister’s capacity when we can hold yet another talkfest.

    I’m sure the causes of poverty and abuse have magically transformed since the report of the Royal Commssion on Social Policy (1) in 1988, and that the vast library of other research (2) is also completely invalid and we need to start all over again.

    Not that it’s only National that do this sort of thing. I remember thinking, when Moana Mackey called for an inquiry into homelessness in NZ that the answer was pretty simple – most can’t afford to rent or own a home. But rather than formulate an actual policy to address this (like, say, removing the tangle of red tape in which anyone wanting to build anything anywhere is entombed) let’s just hold another inquiry.

    Just in case the Minister’s staff can’t find the results of any previous efforts (hint: looking beyond the “young adult fiction” catalogue with which you usually keep her amused helps), here’s some references:

    (1) ISBN 090881304X (v. 3, pt. 2) 0908813031 (v. 3, pt. 1) 0908813058 (v. 4) 0908813023 (v. 2) 0908813015 (v. 1) Published as: Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives of New Zealand ; 1988, H. 2

    (2) Try looking at http://www.spear.govt.nz/ – the government’s own Social Policy Evaluation and Research Committee. Start with “Monitoring the impact of social policy, 1980-2001: Report on significant policy events” for a bit of history. Then there’s the Social Report 2010 from MSD, the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand (I presume it’s still published) a truckload of academic research and the excellent work of many NGOs including the The Social Policy Research Unit of the NZ Family Centre. Or visit the Parliamentary Library and ask them to show you… there’s probably a dust-covered room chock full of white and green papers out back someplace.

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  16. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    The crap about compulsory reporting is silly .If Ieacher can get u in trouble ya don’t send the kids to school same with the Doctor so worse outcome for the kids

    This problem can be seen from an economic standpoint In business you look for under preforming assets or sector and try to increase productivity that’s were the most and easiest gains will come from. far more important then twaddling around with tax and regulation which seems to be the focus of government in New Zealand since Rog and Preb

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  17. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    mikenmild, I’ve really got no problem with same-sex marriage, but I don’t see how it will have any practical effect on child abuse. Do you have any reference material that shows it would? I mean, how many of the abused children have unmarried same-sex parents?

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  18. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Rex – at least they are part way through the right process, and have opened ip up to the public for input. Now it’s up to the public to put in, and follow up and make sure they are listened to and taken notice off. On an issue like this it will be easy to keep pushing it along or the Government will be easily embarrassed.

    On the other hand maybe we don’t need to, I’ve just been told by a Labour operative:

    We know what’s wrong, we know how to fix it.

    No consultation needed, just leave it up to them.

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  19. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    I do wonder, given the choice, how many solo parents would rather be in a stable marriage?

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  20. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    Pete, I admire your perseverance in trying to engage at the Standard. It always gives me a great laugh to see you called a right winger.

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  21. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    I’m afraid I’m with Rex on this one. The Green Paper, and any subsequent White Paper, will just be excuses for doing nothing. It is the same with virtually any issue (liquor reform springs to mind), there is often quite clear consensus about helpful things that could be done. Such measures are often politically unpalatable, so we head off into another round of research, consultation, strategies, action plans, summits, etc, etc.

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  22. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Rightnow – yeah, they’re a crack up and that one always makes me laugh. And I either work in the Beehive or for Crosby Textor – or maybe both.

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  23. david (2,483 comments) says:

    Amazing that so many have the answers to hand and yet nothing has vhanged for a couple of generations.

    IMHO we are still a long way from defining the question.

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  24. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    I sort of agree with Rex, but then I disagree that previous governments have ‘done nothing’. I’m more inclined to believe that previous governments have done ‘the wrong things’.

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  25. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    - and/or not enough of the right things.

    But it’s a bloody hard thing to improve, and it will take a concerted effort for decades.

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  26. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    @Pete George:

    Now it’s up to the public to put in, and follow up and make sure they are listened to and taken notice off. On an issue like this it will be easy to keep pushing it along or the Government will be easily embarrassed.

    Labour were pretty embarressed by the Richardson Commission. Didn’t stop Lange joking about using it as a doorstop and Richardson going on slash ebenfits. I seem to recall the public having a lot of input to the Royal Commission, and “pushing” to have it taken seriously too. When the elites want to ignore the plebs, then we get ignored and the elites have no shame about so doing… so “push” all you like. Good luck with moving Bennett an inch (unless you have a Twinkie and a length of string).

    I’ve just been told by a Labour operative:

    We know what’s wrong, we know how to fix it.

    If it was anyone but a Labour operative – because Labour have a shameful record on this (see above) – then I’d agree with them. The NGOs, the academics, even the public servants working in the sector do know what’s wrong and how to fix it. This exercise has been triggered by the fact that having a leopardskin car and doing a spot on reality TV have run their course and the country’s most under-performing Minister needs another photo op.

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  27. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    It’s the NZ Government way….lie, stall, appoint a commission, obfuscate, have meetings, call for a green, orange or striped paper, bullshit, prevaricate, send to a committee, lose an election, rinse, then restart process.

    It’s been going on for years. If anyone thinks that this will be different I’ve got them a real deal on a harbour bridge.

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  28. Rex Widerstrom (5,129 comments) says:

    RightNow observes:

    I’m more inclined to believe that previous governments have done ‘the wrong things’.

    Well I didn’t say “done nothing”. But ever since Richardson made the wrong choice in slashing benefits across-the-board rather than tightening criteria and investing in close monitoring of, and tailored assistance to, everyone in receipt of any benefit, no government has tackled the kind over overhaul that’s needed.

    As I recommended to the Minister above, a good place to remind ourselves of the hodge-podge of half-arsed tinkering that’s gone on is at http://www.spear.govt.nz/ in a report called “Monitoring the impact of social policy, 1980-2001: Report on significant policy events”. It lists each Finance Minister, and what they did in benefits, housing etc etc. Sum total (if measured on effectiveness): bugger all.

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  29. williamsheridan (63 comments) says:

    On a related topic, I have been sickened to see all of the posturing in the Herald’s Hungry Families series …. to me the issue is one of expectations; if you have a low income you need to lower expectations on your type of accomodation, the type of food you eat, where you shop and what you buy….. I see the word “poverty” being bandied about and yet to eat porridge or rice and vegetables is actually relatively cheap (relative to welfare income levels) in NZ… I see the benchmark of costs set for a family with two children incorporating a three-bedroom house in relatively central suburb and wonder if that is actually a realistic housing expectation for a welfare-reliant family. I see Campbell Live running programmes where a man is crying povery and yet the picture is of the family sitting in fron of a big screen TV….. are these choices compatable with reasonable lifestyle expectations for welfare beneficiaries?

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  30. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Annette King is prepared to put the kids first (well, after making a few political points):

    …the paper includes many of our policy’s components, including information-sharing, child centred practices, agency collaboration and legislation changes.

    We are again offering to work across parties on this.

    This is a hugely important issue. The country as a whole needs to work together on it.

    Good. If all parties co-operate and work on this then kids get the attention and co-operation they deserve.

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  31. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Your faith in these politician is touching Pete George.

    But seriously misguided and naive.

    These are the people who have wrecked the institution of marriage – the best protection you could possibly provide for children.

    I expect you still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth friggen Fairy

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  32. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    There is so much attention on valuing children, but all that attention and valuing has achieved nothing.

    To me the answer is obvious: the focus is in the wrong place.

    And when you think about it, there *is* one group in the picture which is not only extremely valuable, but extremely denigrated and devalued. That’s parents.

    Time to value parenting, and encouraging people to be good parents and not just grown up kids who have kids.

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  33. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    The whole Welfare ,Criminal Justice, Poverty ,etc sector is such a huge drag on N Z as a whole. Not only does society have to pay to support the disadvantaged we also lose a productivity they are capable of
    It has to have money spent on it but with scientific method and Best Practice not squandered on un Scientific beliefs Superstition or baseless Theory’s
    You cannot only benchmark against GDP you have to take in measurements in social justice crime and all the other ways
    As it is we do very well in education health quality of life and many other comparisons maybe funds and priority’s need to be redirected.

    Bit yeh just lift the carpet and walk away whistling

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  34. kowtow (6,733 comments) says:

    Andrei has it in one.

    All this hand wringing will go on forever.

    So now it’s the tax payers job to make kids happy! Socialist bullshit.

    And these pricks want our views on it? Why? They ignored the referendum on parental discipline,why ask us about murder and mayhem in alleged “families?”

    Gluckman my arse ,this is commonsense and most people had it before the “liberal” ’60′s.Even politicians.

    Like I said ,see Andreis above.

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  35. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Your faith in these politician is touching Pete George.

    But seriously misguided and naive.

    These are the people who have wrecked the institution of marriage – the best protection you could possibly provide for children.

    I expect you still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth friggen Fairy

    Funny Andrei. I try and do naive well, but I don’t do anything make believe.

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  36. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    BTW, “the institution of marriage” hasn’t protected kids in the past, this is not a problem that has popped up out of nowhere in the past few decades.

    A good stable family with married mum and dad is certainly a good ideal, but far too often marriage has masked problems or caused problems. I know a woman who escaped from a control freak so he abused the kids “as his right in lieu of a wife”.

    I could quote other cases of child abuse in marriage too, thinking that sticking to some old legal marriage tradition magically excludes another long and too prevalent tradition of violence and abuse is what is really naive.

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  37. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    I’d have to go along with PG in that an unhappy marriage, especially a violent one, is worse from a kid’s point of view than having their parents divorce.

    Having typed that, I reckon that Andrei has made good points in that the DPB & other interventions have made it too easy for people to throw up their arms & walk away from a relationship rather than work their problems out. That & effectively promoting solo parenthood as a career choice.

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  38. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    What a fucking waste of good trees, no wonder a Melon was present. First three posts says it all but no the left ( Nats ) will continue with the social engineering, caring and sharing new age bullshit and nothing will change. And Gluckman was there, oh marvelous, the talking parrot.

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  39. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    I know a woman who escaped from a control freak so he abused the kids “as his right in lieu of a wife”.

    Pete that’s not a husband that’s a monster who needs locking up for some time.

    Just because marriage can mean abuse, violence, control, domination, doesn’t mean it has to and in fact every normal definition of it doesn’t include those factors instead talking about mutual respect, mutual sacrifice for each other and the kids, not to mention the “L” word which overcomes all obstacles when it really does mutually exist within the family unit.

    Conflating marriage with those aforesaid qualities is exactly what the commies portrayed the Russian Orthodox Church as when they were implementing the suppression of free practice of religion in the 20′s. Didn’t work. Church is back and frankly, never really left town, it just didn’t say anything circa 1920-1990.

    The lefty practice of destroying the institution of marriage uses exactly the same tactics and has the same motives. Just as religion is a threat to communism so too is marriage, and for the same reasons.

    Re: lefties, they also have a vested in making their base out to be victims of some invisible oppressive hand and this is why they don’t suggest anything that will make the economy more successful for if employers are successful their base gets paid more and then they won’t be victims anymore and that’s precisely why they do it. Which makes them execrable human beings for it means they perpetuate poverty for their own, selfish ends. You can’t argue with it.

    None of their policies are aimed at growth they’re all aimed at screwing down the economy. So all lefties do on this and you see it on the Std is suggest that somehow we must reduce poverty but their ideas are all focused on re-distributing the limited wealth available, rather than increasing the collective wealth.

    How the hell can their base ever win, with them as their representatives?

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  40. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Nothing is perfect Pete George but despite there being some pathological marriages in the past for the most part they were not.

    And societies that have promoted life long monogamous relationships have been the ones that have prospered and when they take it less seriously, as we are doing, they die and are replaced by more vigorous ones.

    What leftoids do is focus on the pathological and say “we know how to fix it” – and then proceed to make the problem worse. It’s a rule of nature actually.

    And to be frank the left had marriage in it sights for many years, and so in the name of making it easier for people to escape the few pathological marriages that there were they introduced “no fault divorce” and spread the pathology to where it wasn’t before.

    See it was shameful to get a divorce once upon a time. TRUTH used to publish the name of everyone who obtained one.

    So people had a vested interest in making it work out.

    With it easy to get out of and no shame attached plus benefits courtesy of the taxpayer. Well go figure what happens for yourself.

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  41. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    you guys all sound like Garth George its sexual preference or the “the institution of marriage” how the hell are you going to enforce that. marriage police.gay people don’t breed half of you are out of wed lock or on a second or more marriage the other half proberbly have kids or grand kids who are illegitimate
    going back to relive the sixty’s sexual revolution is totally non productive
    Shit this is a major problem and this is all you come come up with

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  42. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    See it was shameful to get a divorce once upon a time. TRUTH used to publish the name of everyone who obtained one.

    So people had a vested interest in making it work out.

    The threat of shame is not a good way to force someone to stay in a bad relationship. Neither is financial necessity – it meant many women stayed in relationships that were bad for them, and often bad for their kids. My own parents had marital problems but “stuck it out for the kids sake” and it wasn’t pleasant at times.

    Marriage and long stable relationships should be encouraged, when they work they have a lot going for them, but we have to deal with a world that has solved some problems and created others.

    The only thing that’s certain is we can’t go back to how things were. We can’t suddenly start forcing people to get married and to stay married, by shame or law.

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  43. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Griff gay marriage is a peripheral issue to the thread and has been discussed previously, in depth, a few weeks ago, over one weekend, I think and I think it was a Saturday. So I suggest you review that discussion and it’ll give you a much more detailed of what the subset of Kiwiblog participants think on that specific issue, which is not this one. Sorry I just can’t be arsed looking it up myself. Suggest you try up to six weeks back and if not try Sunday as well. It’s there, somewhere.

    And also see the post I just made on the Std if you want to know my own thoughts on child poverty.

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  44. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Thanks I only read at 250 words per Minuit and haven’t been around long enough to have read that far back

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  45. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    FFS Pete George, life aint a bed of roses. There is no freakin fairy Godmother who is going to wave her magic wand and make everything better.

    You do the best you can with what you have got and when things get rough you work it out or in this day and age of cry babies you run cap in hand the the Government boo hoo hoo I f**ked up when I married a (..inset appropriate epithet here) – make it better.

    Drug addled sixties flower children who grew up with everything and when they don’t get their way have little tanties make me sick to the freaking stomach.

    You’re right about one thing though, we can’t go back – idiot drug addled sixties flower children have squandered their inheritance – Self centered, self absorbed, bunch of ninnies who have thrown away their birthright.

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  46. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Key to getting kids out of poverty is educating them so as to ensure that when they have kids their kids will also be educated. That’s how it works in life, isn’t it. Education begats education. Doesn’t it. Can’t deny it. Look around you. Think of your own experience. Anyone who comes to a political blog is educated, aren’t they. That’s how it works with you and all your friends and associates, isn’t it. All of you have educated parents, don’t you. Occasionally you get the odd miracle but 99% of the time, that IS how it works, isn’t it.

    Kids in poverty who grow up to have kids who also live in poverty almost invariably had parents who didn’t encourage indeed sometimes disrupted their own education and that’s because their parents weren’t educated. Both in general and in how to be a proper parent. Break that cycle. That’s the key and that’s the only key. And that means, targeting parental behaviour in this generation of kids in poverty and making damn sure those kids currently in poverty know how life works, as in, what they need to do, to get educated so as to have a higher income than their parents.

    It also means identifying those parents who disrupt their kids education and educating them and if necessary physically preventing them from doing so, for some are like that, yes, some are.

    If Labour focused on policies which dealt with those dynamics, it would actually be doing what it says it stands for, which is improving the lot of the worker and the poor.

    But it probably won’t, for Labour has a vested interest in perpetuating poverty as without a ready and large pool of economic “victims” Labour is no more and if their base become educated, well where would Labour be, in thirty or forty years?

    Challenge for National is to do the same and it means smashing through a lot of sacred cows.

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  47. geo_kiwi (43 comments) says:

    No one really wants to tackle this issue, because it would be an admission by both major parties and their cohorts that decades of policy turned out to be a complete waste of time, money and resources.

    Another problem that I think makes it highly unlikely that this will get addressed anytime soon, is no one will have the guts to make a law change that negates a parents right to silence when talking to police about potential child abuse. I think a parent has to speak because in the first few years a child will not have sufficiently developed their vocabulary and self judgement to think and speak for themselves.

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  48. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Challenge for National is to do the same and it means smashing through a lot of politically correct sacred cows with Liarbore scweaming every step of the way.

    Sorry, missed the edit window.

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  49. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Reading though, I agree with Andrei.

    We simply have to uphold the institution of marriage as the safest, optimum place for kids to be raised. We need to be big enough to do this knowing that a huge number of people have a less than idea situation, but that should never change the definition of ideal.

    If it’s good enough to praise the winner of a gold medal at the Olympics without denigrating all those that worked incredibly hard but didn’t make the podium, then it’s good enough to put the optimum family construct on the podium and have society aim for that.

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  50. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    This is an interview with the architect of the UK welfare reforms, 20 mins, with Catherine Ryan. It’s v good, if you’re interested in their direction, which sounds bloody good to me.

    It’s all about encouraging people to work: i.e. get out of poverty.

    If it’s good enough to praise the winner of a gold medal at the Olympics without denigrating all those that worked incredibly hard but didn’t make the podium, then it’s good enough to put the optimum family construct on the podium and have society aim for that.

    Tell that to the global left’s Perception Management companies. Guess they don’t really care about that. It’s just another project, to them.

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  51. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    We simply have to uphold the institution of marriage as the safest, optimum place for kids to be raised.

    How do you propose to do that?

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  52. geo_kiwi (43 comments) says:

    I don’t think whether or not a child has married parents or not is the issue.

    The issue is why does a parent hide child abuse, and sometimes even participate in it? I have two loving parents, in their 37th year of union who have done their damndest for myself and my brother. I count myself to be very lucky.

    But I also know people with parents still together, but not married – never married in some cases – who have done an equally good job raising their children, and whom consider themselves to be just as lucky.

    Marriage is great if it involves a loving couple who are determined to make it work and who have a same or similar outlook on life. But 1/4 marriages end in tears for any number of reasons – cheating; deceit; abuse. How did it come to that?

    It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the kid/s.

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  53. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    reid – indeed. The socialist world view regards a strong family unit as a threat to the totality of its authority. That whole generations are raised and die in sub-optimal conditions causes nothing more than a blip on their conscience radar. On the contrary, subjugated people who believe the state to be their only source of help are, unwittingly, supporters of socialist tyranny.

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  54. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the kid/s.

    Correct. It’s more likely to do with their parents. We need to break the cycle and promote loving, committed marriages that last for a lifetime as the desired optimum, rather than a lucky and statistically inconsequential happening.

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  55. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    [Pete]I know a woman who escaped from a control freak so he abused the kids “as his right in lieu of a wife”.

    [reid]Pete that’s not a husband that’s a monster who needs locking up for some time.

    There’s too many monsters across all the demographics. Do we have more now than we used to, or is it just that we have more reporting about them?

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  56. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Do we have more now than we used to, or is it just that we have more reporting about them?

    I think we have more reporting about them – and if abused women and children (and men when it happens) are able to get out of abusive relationships easier it’s more likely to become known.

    There used to be a culture of leaving “domestics” alone.

    I don’t know if anyone has or it’s possible to get stats on it though.

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  57. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    geokiwi: “I don’t think whether or not a child has married parents or not is the issue.”
    Yes, what’s more important is that they both want the child together. That’s the commitment that trumps marriage.

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  58. DJP6-25 (1,236 comments) says:

    There are several ways mariage could be encouraged.

    1. Allow income splitting for married opposite sex couples.

    2. Tax deductions of rent/mortgage payments for married couples. For the family home only.

    3. Quit paying children to have children. Encourage adoption, or abortion. Set a cut off date. They’ll soon get the message.

    4. Keep ‘same sex marriage’, and ‘civil unions’ for those who want them. Don’t give them #1, and 2 above.

    5. Keep the DPB for those escaping an abusive relationship; or leaving a failed marriage.

    6. Change or abolish legislation that is hostile to marriage.

    Wait two generations and expect mostly beneficial results. Seventy years of socialisim and relativisim aren’t going to be reversed over night. Expect a whole lot of screaming, lies, obfuscation, ad hominen attacks, and little real evidence from the usual suspects. You know, the usual stuff.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  59. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Yes, what’s more important is that they both want the child together. That’s the commitment that trumps marriage.

    Exactly. There are too many females who have babies for the wrong reasons – I don’t think as a money maker is a fair or frequent allegation, one very sad reason is to have someone to love for the first time – and males who don’t want anything serious to do with their babies.

    And those problems can occur within or outside marriage.

    Commitment to parenthood and better use of contraception would help a lot.

    But – this is dealing with the problems once they have nearly grown up. Many of these problems begin as infants. That’s where the main focus should be, to prevent it happening again. I know that goes back to the parents – it’s not an easy or quick think to resolve.

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  60. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    Just thinking about it, if the MP in this election adopted a strong focus on educating parents on (a) the importance of education for their children and (b) precisely how to support their child’s education and (c) sold it as not just for their base but for all who need it, it would I predict be a v powerful vote puller.

    Love your # 2 David, love it. I’m not married but I really, really love it, subject to 4(b) of course. Otherwise that would be awful.

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  61. mikenmild (8,904 comments) says:

    Marriage is an irrelevancy, really. A parent’s ability to raise a child safely does not depend on a legal partnership. Any family – solo parent, married, de facto or same-sex union – can provide a stable and loving environment. We might be better off concentrating on the things that would really matter – reducing poverty and inequalities, improving education, better support for parents and earlier identification and intervention when problems are developing.

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  62. reid (15,603 comments) says:

    A parent’s ability to raise a child safely does not depend on a legal partnership.

    Marriage is not a mere “legal partnership” mm. Duh. It’s the foundation of oneself through the moulding of the family unit, the font of love, the basis of re-production, it’s what human beings need in abundance. What we don’t need is anything other than that, when we’re really young and I consider “really young” up to about age 21. If every single human being on the planet had a love-filled benevolent stable set of married parents from birth to 21 years, what would this planet look like?

    That’s what marriage represents to people when they get married and what it could be. The fact that clearly it’s not that in today’s world, is not the fault of the institution.

    Who cares about marriage anyway, that’s not the root cause of this issue, education is. If you educate people, they will practice marriage as it should be practiced. If you don’t, they won’t. And today, some sure as hell need educating in it for they appear to have no idea what it really is.

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  63. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    kk: We simply have to uphold the institution of marriage as the safest, optimum place for kids to be raised.
    pg: How do you propose to do that?

    Step 1: Have people like you agree that that’s a good objective, one worthy of support despite apparent obstacles
    Step 2: Celebrate. 99% of the job is done

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  64. geo_kiwi (43 comments) says:

    As long as the child has two loving parents who, within reasonable limits do what they can to provide for it, I don’t see how one marital state can control the outcome of a childs wellbeing. Obviously if the parents are in the same house there are advantages, but assuming both parents are loving and responsible, I think the biggest problem is making sure both get equal access to their child.

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  65. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Geo_kiwi – equal access can never replace the value of two imperfect adults modeling living together and loving each other no matter what.

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  66. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    There is a big brown elephant in the room
    is its name Voldemort

    no its worst than that

    never mind if you don’t name it it will go away(insert smiley)

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  67. DJP6-25 (1,236 comments) says:

    reid 9:50pm. Thanks. I was just thinking of some easy ways to elevate marriage.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  68. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Any family – solo parent, married, de facto or same-sex union – can provide a stable and loving environment

    Emphasis mine. ‘Can’ is irrelevant in terms of promoting optimums. The safest environment for children is one where the biological mother and biological father provide love and care for their offspring. Anything less is less than ideal despite the best intentions of the parties involved.

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  69. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    To answer the original question posed
    When the parents are obviously detrimental to a child’s well being yes look first outside the family to whanau but unless whanau are measurably better outside of the whanau is the obvious choice.However the fact that family and then whanau are considered to a be higher priority instability in the child’s life frequently occurs.The pushing and pulling between care givers whanau and family gives no hope of a permanent bond occurring any where . The out come often ends up even worse.It would be beneficial in the some cases to permanently remove the child and give the child prioity over the parents and whanau

    Some times for a child it is not the major event that will cause the damage but ongoing continues low level abuse

    Foster parents often find it hart tearing that a child is returned to family when there has been no change just successful manipulation on the part of the family only to see a child continue to be damaged

    Not that most will understand a word
    marriage”pah”
    (Voldermort) don’t get married

    I Know of a case recently in were a school councilor repeatedly tried to have a child removed to a safer environment with in the whanau and could not get any social worker to enforce a release from the family. As councilor must abide by the child’s wishes she could not involve the police. involving the police is against the culture among (Voldemort) and would have got her more abuse and beatings and proberbly not helped the childs future
    shit know I no why social workers talk is so woolly

    always love a good rant

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  70. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Step 1: Have people like you agree that that’s a good objective, one worthy of support despite apparent obstacles
    Step 2: Celebrate. 99% of the job is done

    If this vague plan could work:
    - how many more couples would get and stay married?
    - how long would it take to get results?
    - can you quantify what improvements it would make?

    Here is something very sad from the news:

    Rugby coach convicted of assaulting son

    A Central Otago rugby coach has admitted assaulting his 11-year-old son after blaming the boy for the team losing a match.

    The man, whose name is suppressed, arrived home heavily intoxicated on June 11, verbally abused his son, grabbed the boy around the throat and later head-butted him, prosecutor, Sergeant Ian Collin, told the Alexandra District Court yesterday.

    “The boy’s team had lost its game and he blamed his son for the team losing,” Sgt Collin said.

    Although the boy was not injured, he was “extremely frightened”. The boy’s mother had intervened during the incident.

    The defendant told police he had not head-butted the boy, “just pressed his head against the victim’s head”.

    It doesn’t say if a legal marriage was involved, but I don’t think that would have made any difference.

    We need less pissheads and less thugs, and more marriage certificates won’t address either at all.

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  71. big bruv (12,386 comments) says:

    Three years in power and the ever increasing Paula Bennett comes out with a discussion paper?

    What a fucking joke thiSheliaia is, she epitomises all that is wrong with the smile and wave government.

    The answer is blindingly simple, start getting really tough with benefit bludgers, stop being so fucking PC around Maori and get rid of the DPB.

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  72. Reg (544 comments) says:

    What Children need is love and committment. Marriage is a committment “for the better or the worse”.
    The issue is deeper than what is merely legal. The basic reason for all relationship failure is selfishness. Infidelity is the height of selfishness, as it places a persons immediate pleasure above the long term well being of their spouse and children. This is not a problem that can be legislated away, but has increased as a result of the declining morality in the western world. The prime responsibilty for this lies with the churches (some not all) who have gone from providing moral instuction, to becoming leaders in what bibically would be regarded as immorality. That said it can not be denied that children on the whole flourish best in a family where there are two parents committed to each other and to their kids. Marriage provides this, so it should be encouraged at a government level. We’ve tried the politically correct approach – it hasn’t worked – lets try a cunning plan where we encourage persons to enter a relationship that will benefit both them and their children.

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  73. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Excellent comment, this is the summary but the whole article is worth reading.

    John Langley: Govt’s sensible response to child abuse

    One political party described them as a “political stunt”. It was noteworthy that nothing but the status quo was proposed by that party and it must be seen as sad indictment that over such a high stakes issue as this our politicians cannot even for a moment engage with each other over what we might do by way of solutions. As always, the politics take over.

    There will be those who say that all children must receive equal resources under such circumstances. That is nonsense.

    Thomas Jefferson once said, “There is nothing more unequal then the equal treatment of unequal people”. In education and health we do not and should not treat all children the same. We treat them on the basis of need. The same applies here.

    Those with the greatest need should receive the greatest resource for without that there is little hope that many will lead a near normal life. That resource should be clearly targeted and based on evidence that it has the impact for change that is required.

    The Minister wants to make a difference. She wants to go where we have been afraid to go before. She may be right or she may not. I think she is right to be bold. Instead of decrying such initiatives as cheaply as political stunts let us at least see and judge by the results.

    Our children deserve nothing less.

    * Dr John Langley is a education and social policy adviser

    Yes, our children deserve nothing less.

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