Today's Dominion Post editorial is about the Kahui twins and the Kahui family. It runs through the all too familiar list of high-profile child murders and concludes;
Many of their cases have common features: alcohol and drug abuse, lifestyles fuelled by crime and benefits, mothers with children to different fathers, delays in seeking medical help and a refusal to cooperate with police once a crime has been discovered. Many, too, occurred within Maori families.
Maori are not alone in abusing their children. Every culture has its dirty secrets, but there is no escaping the fact that Maori children are disproportionately represented among the victims.
Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says this is because Maori are over-represented in poverty-stricken and under-achieving communities.
He may be right, but that is an explanation, not a solution. The killing will not stop till relatives and neighbours of mistreated children recognise that they owe their loyalty to society's most vulnerable members, not to those who abuse them.
Again this misses the hub of the matter. Again we are seeing the responsibility shifted to people other than the mother and father. The killing will not stop until those individuals bringing babies into the world make a commitment to them. But too often they are too young themselves; too consumed with having a good time whether that's getting on the piss, partying, taking off to play the pokies, smoking P. It's all about escaping life and responsibility. What is the reward for behaving any differently? Loneliness (a baby isn't much company), ostracism (you can't hold your piss) hostility (you're a nark).
It is no good appealing to the cuzzies when it is quite likely they are the source of malevolent 'peer pressure'. Where the whanau is any good the babies have long gone usually to grandma.
It takes an incredibly strong individual to raise a child well in this sort of environment and the fact is there just aren't that many to be found. Lifestyle welfare has created a feckless and inhospitable setting for children. Caring 'relatives and neighbours' can't compete with it.
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