Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says there is no excuse for child abuse.
“There is no justification for the vile maltreatment, neglect, and abuse of children that has too frequently led to tragic consequences”.
“It does not matter how poor or rich you are – no child should ever be placed in danger. This is one time to put politics aside, and do what is important, in ensuring all our families are supported to care and protect their children”.
“Printing wads of money will not save the lives of our babies”.
“The Māori Party has always said that the situation of over 270,000 children living in poverty is intolerable; and we must work together to create the jobs and opportunities to bring more income into the home.
“But we should all be on the same page with these two issues. Child abuse and treatment must be addressed and the White Paper is a good step in that direction. Whānau poverty must also be addressed – absolutely”.
“But the two are not mutually exclusive – there are well off families who treat their children with contempt; there are also many families living on limited incomes who treat their children as taonga”.
“Like many in my generation, as children we didn’t have a lot to go on, in terms of the material wealth of our household. But we were rich in the support of our extended family. One of the glaring differences between then and now is how difficult it can be for our young parents, isolated in the city, and lacking family around them. Our collective challenge must be to ensure all our families are supported, no matter what their circumstances.
“Whanau, hapu and iwi need to prepare for their tamariki to be returned. We must pick up on the momentum and begin the process of Whanau Ora and ensure our people have capability. This will require the right supports and training in place – much as is already in place with foster care”.
“I had hoped that this might be a time when right across Parliament we could unite in a common call to support our families to fulfil their responsibilities. I resent the interpretation that child abuse is the practice of the poor. Truth is, while those with sizeable salaries can often hide the extent of the harm done, abuse, neglect and trauma can and does occur across all demographics”.
“Let’s be united in our concerted campaign to insist that there is no justification for child abuse – to abuse and neglect your children is not acceptable and never will be”.
She is right.
Poverty is a problem but it isn’t the cause of, or excuse for, the neglect and maltreatment of children.
That isn’t restricted only to the poor. However, children whose parents are on welfare are more likely to be abused and the Opposition parties which have criticised the White Paper have also opposed measures the government is promoting to get those on welfare who could work to do so.