Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Call for the suspension of political agendas naive

The writer of yesterday's NZ Herald editorial takes what he or she thinks is a considered and objective stand on child abuse. The piece is titled , Find practical way to save our children

Another baby, 2-month-old Hinekawa Topia, has died in hospital of a head injury police do not consider accidental.
Another round of hand-wringing ensues. Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett reminds critics that she issued a Green Paper on Vulnerable Children six months ago and it is open for discussion until the end of February. Labour's spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern repeats a call for a cross-party study of abuse as an issue of child poverty.
All of this, of course, leaps far ahead of the known facts in the latest death which is under police investigation. The officer in charge of the homicide inquiry warns against leaping to conclusions. But it does no harm to be reminded yet again that this country must do something about its high rate of child abuse and that it should be a subject beyond political point-scoring.

Separating politics and social problems is not possible.  Politicians make policy. Even the repeal or reform of bad policy requires political action and it will always be contentious because human interests will always conflict.

So far the Government has spurned Labour's request to be included in a study of child poverty, which is to be undertaken by a committee of ministers. The Government sounds serious in its undertaking to do something for children in impoverished circumstances, just as it must want to reduce the country's incidence of child abuse.
But it will be wary of confusing the issues.
Not all children in poverty are abused, not all abuse occurs in poor households. There may be a heavy co-relationship between them but each problem deserves dedicated attention. Neither should be happening in a small society with well-developed social services, good accessible schools and reasonable levels of income support.

What is a "small society"? This may be a small country in terms of land mass and population but it is not a small society. A society implies common values, interests and interdependence. Does anyone believe that describes NZ today?

But still we get cases such as Mikara Reti, killed last January by a blow to his liver, aged 5 months, Serenity Scott in April, dead of brain injuries, also 5 months, baby Afoa, a week old, whose body was found in a makeshift grave in June and James "JJ" Lawrence, 2 years old when he was killed in November.
Every possible way to prevent these things should be considered. No civil liberty should stand in the way of a practical precaution, no ethnic sensitivity must restrict useful discussion, no political agenda should apply.
All New Zealanders care for these children and all want them to be raised safely and well.

No civil liberty should stand in the way....

Again, this is unworkable. The writer advocates the suspension of civil liberties but wants it disassociated from political agendas. Some of us actually value civil liberties. And we are sophisticated enough to understand the fight for them goes beyond that of our own.

Ironically , when the overall tone of the piece is considered, even the writer has their own political agenda. That is their tacit belief in collectivism and assumption that it is desirable for government to dominate social spheres.

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