Otago Daily Times 14 March 2012
Government attempts to take over the roles of family and genuine community are doomed to failure, writes Tani Newton, of Oamaru.
There’s a quote I’ve heard several times recently: “Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results”. That would be my one-sentence response to the Government’s green paper on vulnerable children, on which submissions closed recently. Child abuse is not a disease. It’s a symptom – a symptom of the breakdown of marriage and the family and the rejection of our Christian heritage and traditional values. Our society has never been ideal, but if we continue on our present course, it’s only going to get worse. It is ludicrous to suggest that all we need is more of the same – more government intervention, more bureaucracy, more paper-pushing, more taxpayers’ money going down the drain, more Big Brother snooping and spying on us all. I almost missed making a submission on the green paper altogether, ironically because my husband and I have been taken up with trying to help three different families who were all being put through the wringer by Child, Youth and Family for no good reason, but also because the questions were so heavily loaded that it was difficult to answer them at all.
Yes, there are things the Government could do about the sickening child abuse statistics.
It could start by admitting culpability for exacerbating the problem by hopelessly flawed attempts at solving it. And here are a few more things that could be done:
• Change section 59 of the Crimes Act (the so-called anti-smacking law) so that people can keep their children under control and protect them without fear of prosecution.
• End state-sanctioned abortion. Nothing sends a stronger message that killing babies is OK.
• Scrap the whole Ministry of Social Development – it’s nothing but a parasite on human misery.
• Return the money saved to real people by lowering taxes so we can do more to help each other.
• Stop trying to change the definitions of marriage and the family, and stop making it financially advantageous for families to separate.
• Repeal all laws which give the government more authority over children than parents, including the compulsory school attendance law.
None of these things would give us the perfect society we seem to think we deserve. But any of them would be better than doing the same thing and expecting different results.
– Tani Newton is a mother of five and convener of a home education support group.