Sue Bradford gave a speech last week primarily promoting her section 59 repeal bill which should have its final reading before Parliament rises for the Xmas break. An interesting speech, highly readable, quite thought-provoking and disturbing in parts. I have symapthy for Bradford's opposition to the fundamentalists stance and material but that isn't the main issue. I remain unconvinced that passing her bill will make one iota of difference to the worst offenders and too much power will be conferred on the police and CYFS.
She also touches however on the Kahui case.
Fallout from the Kahui tragedy
I’d like to turn now, just briefly, to an associated topic, which is the political fallout from the tragic death of the Kahui twins. There was something about the fact that it was twins who were killed that touched everyone very deeply, no matter our political persuasion, yet of course the responses are highly politicised.
The nadir in the media came with Emerson’s cartoon in the ‘Herald’ depicting a level of overt racism against Maori I can’t remember seeing for decades, and in Parliament, from National using the tragedy as an opportunity for a renewed attack on an already inadequate benefit system.
The ideology of ‘blame the victim, not the system’ is alive and well in Aotearoa today. As usual, Maori and beneficiaries are right up front on the receiving end.
While I’m not for a moment suggesting that whoever killed these babies shouldn’t be held to account for their actions, at the same time it is alarming the way in which this particular case has been used as an opportunity for a new assault by the Right on tangata whenua and the welfare system....
What we shouldn’t be doing is removing benefits and income-related rents, as Rodney Hide suggested in the House when debating the Kahui case. The consequences of that course of action are almost unimaginable in terms of a total descent into crime, violence, neglect and children who run the risk of being literally discarded, as we see in societies where infanticide or the killing of street kids are everyday evils.
After dwelling at length on the hysteria generated against her bill by various Right groups this is pretty rich.
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