Call for inquiry into ‘ongoing tragedy’ of child abuse

TVNZ News 16 January 2012
The death of a two-month-old Wanganui girl has prompted calls for a Commission of Inquiry into violence against children in New Zealand. Family First say the case is further proof of the urgent need for an independent inquiry completely removed from political parties. Both Labour and National are rejecting the idea. Family First director Bob McCroskie said child abuse deserves more focus. “I think a lot of people are saying ‘come on, we really need to tackle this issue head on,'” he said. “We’ve had commissions into the Christchurch earthquake and yet we haven’t had a Commission of Inquiry into our greatest and ongoing tragedy of child abuse deaths.”

Last year the Government promised a solution to New Zealand’s high rate of child abuse and launched a green paper asking for public submissions on what should be done. But McCoskrie believes independent advice is needed to figure out how abuse is happening. “I think that we just need to take it away from it being a political process where it’s about political points scoring and posturing and election stunts,” he said. “Put it in the hands of independent experts and and get the very best people to look at some of the issues.”

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said there is no need for an inquiry. She says the green paper has already garnered 500 submissions, and is an inclusive opportunity for all New Zealanders to offer their solutions to stop child abuse. Bennett said she will be touring the country next week to get more people involved. Labour’s social development spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern also says an inquiry is not needed. She said Labour has been calling for the Government to work across political parties on child welfare issues for some time.

WATCH Family First’s Bob McCoskrie on ONE News