If no one’s at fault someone’s responsible


Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennet has ordered an independent inquiry into the serious abuse of a nine year-old girl.

She is to be congratulated for this urgent response to a report from Child, Youth and Family’s Chief Social Worker that found no single glaring failure on the part of any of the agencies involved with the child’s family.

That 12 agencies were involved shows there were serious problems in the family. That no-one from one of those 12 agencies was able to prevent or at least identify and stop the serious abuse is a symptom of an even more serious problem.

If there was no single glaring failure on the part of the agencies it might be argued that no-one in those agencies is at fault. But that shows there is something seriously wrong with their systems and procedures and somebody must be responsible for them.

Paula has given former Ombudsman Mel Smith who will lead the inquiry plenty of scope to determine what went wrong, why and what needs to change to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

1. Whether the multiple agencies and individuals involved in the family in the lead-up to her abuse took all appropriate actions to ensure her safety

2. If these individuals and agencies were sufficiently child-centred in their actions and approach to this case

3. Whether all these individuals and agencies collaborated effectively

4. Whether the individuals and agencies involved in the case shared information effectively or not? If not, why not? And did the individuals have a clear understanding of the law around information sharing?

5. If any changes to the processes and legislative framework are required to ensure open and appropriate information sharing about children judged to be at risk of child abuse or neglect.

6. Any other matters you might identify that you believe should be brought to my attention.

The most important of these might be number 6: any other matters that should be brought to the Minister’s attention.

This inquiry must ensure that even if no-one’s at fault for what happened in this case, someone is responsible to ensure no more children are let down by those in a position to help them.

Smith & Jones on The Beatles


Happy Birthday Mel Smith – 57 today.

December 3 in history


On December 3:

1838  Octavia Hill, British housing and open-space activist, was born.

1842 Charles Alfred Pillsbury, American industrialist, was born.

1854 – Eureka Stockade: In what is claimed by many to be the birth of Australian democracy, more than 20 gold miners at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia were killed by state troopers in an uprising over mining licences.

The ‘Eureka Flag, flown during the rebellion

1857  Joseph Conrad, Polish-born British writer, was born.

1863 the land confiscation law was passed, allowing for the confiscation (raupatu) of Maori land as punishment of those North Island tribes who were deemed to have been in rebellion against the British Crown in the early 1860s.

1904 The Jovian moon Himalia was discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at California’s Lick Observatory.

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1917 The Quebec Bridge opened to traffic.

1927 Andy Williams, American singer, was born.

1948 Ozzy Osbourne, English singer, was born.

1949 Mickey Thomas, American singer (Jefferson Starship),was born.

1960 Bluff Harbour opened.

1951  Nicky Stevens, British singer (Brotherhood of Man), was born.

1952  Mel Smith, English comedian, was born.

1967 At Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a transplant team headed by Christiaan Barnard carried out the first heart transplant on a human (53-year-old Louis Washkansky).

1973 Pioneer 10 sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter.

Pioneer 10 at Jupiter.gif

1976  Byron Kelleher, New Zealand rugby union footballer, was born.

B Keller.jpg

1976 Mark Boucher, South African cricketer, was born.

Mark Boucher 4.jpg

1984  Bhopal Disaster: A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed more than 3,800 people outright and injures 150,000–600,000 others (some 6,000 of whom would later die from their injuries) in one of the worst industrial disasters in history.

1997  representatives from 121 countries signed The Ottawa treaty prohibiting manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines.


     State Parties to the Ottawa Treaty
2005  XCOR Aerospace made the first manned rocket aircraft delivery of US Mail in Mojave, California.
2005  Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway, was born.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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