Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Marching against child abuse, but to what end?

Christine Rankin, speaking at the Silent Voices (1) rally against child abuse, branded Children's Commisioner Cindy Kiro "a waste of space" (2), along with comments about her courage and ineffectiveness. Her hunger not sated, she then laid into the government, claiming "this government just turns away," (3), which is just so stupidly demagogic that it doesn't really need further refutation (4).

First, it is good to Christine showing her self-proclaimed leadership skills (5). Nothing like badmouthing the governemnt, agencies working to prevent child abuse and hence the people you might be working with to dispell an lingering notions that you are serious about addressing the issue, and not simply raising your own profile and building a platform for your own ends. But it turns out that Judith Collins, Nationals spokesperson on welfare and family affairs, spoke at the rally as well (6). Surely, an innocent coincidence?

Kiro apparently had a bit of a go in reply (7), telling Rankin to leave it up to the experts. Which struck a fabulously patritician tone, but will probably not endear her to the crowd of non-experts gathered to make their ineffectual protest against child abuse. it is unlikely that someone so warped in their world view that they could beat a child to death is going to give a damn how many people march up and down Queen Street. What is needed is the resources and - YES - expertise to deal with the problem. Things are getting better. It would be nice if they were getting better more quickly, but almost halving the number of Maori child murders in a decade (8) is something.

The worst thing that could happen now is that the country gets dragged back to the right, and the swinging economic policies plunges whole communities and sections of society back into the abyss. It would be a bitter irony if that lurch to the right was brought about by a National government elected - at least in part - on the back of the outrage stoked up by the mendacity of Christine Rankin and her ilk.

1 - http://www.silentvoices.co.nz/
2 - "Rankin slams Children's Commissioner," by Jenny MacIntyre in the Sunday Star Times, 26th of August, 2007. Reproduced on stuff.co.nz (
3 - ibid.
4 - As described at an earlier time on lefthandpalm:
5 - As descibed at an earlier time on lefthandpalm:
6 - MacIntyre, op. cit.
7 - "Commissioner strikes back,"
unattributed newstalkZB story, 26th of August, 2007. (
8 - As described earlier on lefthandpalm:

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