Why Won’t Labour & Greens Tackle Harms of Porn

Media Release 24 June 2020
Family First NZ is gutted that Labour and Greens want to turn a blind eye to the harms of pornography.

“We already know there’s a problem. The annual cost of sexual violence ($1.2 billion). It’s clearly time for urgent solutions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Society is starting to catch up with the science on the harms of pornography. There has been an important national conversation around consent and ‘rape culture’. At the same time, there is increasing consumption and availability of online pornography and sexual violence. It’s time we connected the dots.”

“One just has to look at the huge amount of international and national research in this area on the effects on health. We need to find an urgent balance between appropriate censorship v freedom of expression, the role and equipping of parents, and other issues that arise, to provide an achievable solution to this significant health issue.”

The Ministry of Health in its submission (responding to a 22,334-written petition calling for “an expert panel be appointed to investigate the public health effects and societal harms of pornography to both children and adults, and to make policy recommendations to Parliament”) acknowledged that “the content of pornography has changed significantly over the last 20 years and has become more extreme, deviant and violent” and that “violence towards women and girls is depicted in 80% of online content. This has a variety of harmful impacts on children and young people’s sexual expectations, attitudes, and behaviour.”

In a 2017 poll of 750 people undertaken by Curia Market Research, it found:

  • 81% say that Internet Providers should be required by the Government to offer filters to block pornographic materials.
  • 70% say that Internet Providers should automatically block pornography unless the customer opts out by turning off a filter.
  • 62% of adults say they have come across pornography online, when not seeking it out. 13% say this has happened often and 48% at least occasionally.
  • 91% says that it is too easy for under 18s to access online pornography.

And a poll in 2019 found strong support (79%) for cafes, libraries, and other public places which offer free Wi-Fi to be required to block access to pornographic websites. Strongest support came from females (86%), 18-40 year olds (85%), and parents (84%).

Family First is calling on immediate legislative support for families including:

  1. Online Public Areas Safety Bill: This bill would require all retail shops, schools, businesses and public areas which provide free Wi-Fi to the general public (and especially children) to ensure that the appropriate filtering from pornography is in place.
  2. Online Child Safety Bill: This bill would require ISP’s to provide or make available to all subscribers (parents) the technology which will allow the parents to monitor, control, supervise, block, and restrict their child’s access to the internet.
  3. Raising Awareness on the Harms of Pornography Bill: This bill would require education materials to be made available to parents, schools, and the general public – similar to alcohol and tobacco health warnings – regarding the public health risks and harms of pornography, its close link with sex trafficking, how parents can engage filters, and more.
  4. Government Accountability, Trust, & Etiquette (G.A.T.E) Bill: This bill would require government agencies to adopt policies which would prohibit users of government-owned devices (like laptops and cellphones) from accessing sexually explicit, pornographic, and sexually harassing material. It would also ensure that appropriate filters are in place in all government agencies and services.

“If we want to tackle sexual violence, we must first admit the role that pornography plays and the harm that it does to attitudes and actions,” says Mr McCoskrie.
ENDS