NZ’s Human Rights Record Stained by Child Poverty, Lack of Investment in its Young: Amnesty International; UNICEF and OECD
Amnesty International Report 2013
270,000 children, yes 270,000, children are now living in poverty in New Zealand, a country infamous for its low wage culture.
New Zealand’s high level of child poverty, violence against women and a proposed law affecting asylum seekers came under fire in Amnesty International’s Annual Report on the state of the world’s human rights.
New Zealand faces most criticism within the country for its high levels of child poverty, according to Grant Bayldon, Executive Director of Amnesty International in New Zealand.
“The mention of up to 270,000 children living in poverty in this global report is a stain on New Zealand’s human rights record.
It further reinforces the need for New Zealand to protect and respect all human rights in New Zealand law.
“States have obligations to protect, respect and fulfill (sic) rights for all people, for those living in poverty, and also asylum seekers and refugees.
As an important voice for human rights protections on the international stage, the New Zealand Government needs to ensure that all actions taken look to respect all human rights, of all people.
“Human rights are not just about freedom from oppression, they’re also about access to education, healthcare, and adequate housing, and such widespread child poverty in New Zealand is a human rights issue.”
Mr Bayldon said New Zealand had signed up to international covenants on these rights but had not put them into law. Adding them to the Bill of Rights would provide a measuring stick for new laws and policies…
Also criticised was the Immigration Amendment (Mass Arrivals) Bill, which would allow for indefinite detention of asylum-seekers arriving by boat in groups of more than 10 people… ” read the full article about the report here http://www.amnesty.org.nz/news/annual-report-2013
New Zealand recently fell to 18th place in an international league table for best country to be a mother, perhaps a reflection of its high number of preventable child deaths. (3rd highest according to UNICEF)
In 2009 (OECD Report Citical of NZ Child Welfare Spending) we wrote about how New Zealand was sixth in that year’s best mum table, despite other data showing that children in this country were more disadvantaged than many other key countries in the developed world.
A UNICEF report published last month also criticised New Zealand’s record forchild wellbeing across a variety of measures, including ranking it 21st out of 35 developed countries for levels of child poverty.
New Zealand’s Childrens commissioner, Russel Wills, said
“We should reallocate resources and direct that resource to the most vulnerable and youngest children.”
New Zealand ranked above Italy and Canada but below Britain and Australia. It was almost bottom – 32nd of 34 – for young people not in any form of education, training or employment.”
New Zealand’s under investment in its young is now beginning to be reflected in the very surveys it used to be so proud of, including a poor showing in the Amnesty International’s International Report 2013 and the UNICEF report.
Considering emigrating to New Zealand because it’s such a great place for kids? you may like to think again.
- Launch of Amnesty International Report 2013: State of the Wo (pacific.scoop.co.nz)
- NZ ranked poorly on child welfare (radionz.co.nz)
- International Mother’s Day, New Zealand plunges in ‘Best Place to be a Mum’ rankings (e2nz.org)
- Child poverty among Budget targets (stuff.co.nz)
- ‘Hold ministers to account’ on child poverty (stuff.co.nz)
- UNICEF criticises NZ record on child wellbeing (radionz.co.nz)
New Zealand’s carefully honed image of being a safe country has taken another blow after the savage beating of cricketer Jesse Ryder.
Ryder was left with a fractured skull, punctured lung and internal bleeding after a frenzied attack by four men on a Christchurch street. Ryder was due to fly out tomorrow to start a $NZ300,000 contract with the Indian Premier League.
According to a report in the NZ Herald Ryder was attacked from behind outside Aikman’s Bar on Papanui Road, Merivale.
Radio New Zealand reported he was in a coma. His condition was critical.
A witness, who only wanted to be known as Adam, told Fairfax Media that Ryder had his shirt ripped off his back and was on the ground as four men kicked and punched him outside the bar.
Ryder was lying in a bush “shaking, vomiting and covered in blood” in the carpark of McDonald’s, which was across the road from the bar.
Adam, who was drinking at the bar, said the brawl broke out behind him.
“From what I could tell it looked pretty unprovoked,” he said.
Four men started punching Ryder in the bar’s courtyard and the fight was quickly pushed out on to the street.”Four dudes were just laying into him and absolutely smashing him on the ground. His shirt was ripped off and they were kicking him and punching him while he was down.” more here
a 20 year old man and an out of town male relative, age 37, have been arrested. Neighbours saw a man led away in handcuffs from a home in Barbadoes Street on Thursday evening, just hours after the attack.
British Cricket Team Victims of Theft in Auckland
Continuing with cricket and sporting news, it has emerged that three members of the British touring cricket team were victims of theft whilst staying at the Pullman Hotel on Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland on Sunday night.
Police are looking for a man who was pictured leaving the “plush hotel” with the unnamed cricketers’ gold clubs which had been left in an unsecured storage room. A doorman, who is reportedly not a suspect, helped him carry the golf bag out of the door in the early hours of the morning. The theft was noticed when the team’s luggage was loaded up for the flight out. For more click here.
The team has already left New Zealand and are unlikely to be as lucky as the member of the US rowing team at Lake Karapiro who had their stolen possessions returned minutes before leaving New Zealand. For more read US Rowing Team Member Robbed, World Rowing Championships 2010.
South African reporters covering the Rugby World Cup weren’t that fortunate. Christiaan Kotze and Barry Aldworth lost R60 000 worth of equipment after South Africa’s games against Samoa at North Harbour stadium. Neither were SuperSport journalists Brenden Nel and Gavin Rich, when their car was broken into at a parking lot at an Auckland hotel.
- Test cricketer’s skull ‘smashed’ (theage.com.au)
- National Sport: NZ cricket offer support to Ryder (birminghampost.net)
- New Zealand cricket star Jesse Ryder in critical condition after bar attack (metro.co.uk)
Last month an inquest was held in Britain into the death of young rugby player Tom Sewell.
Five years ago Tom Sewell started his first day of a working holiday in New Zeaalnd and was killed whilst riding a quad bike on a farm in Katikati, on the North Island.
It’s sad that it has taken this long for the coroner to reach a judgement about accidental death but when he did it was pretty damning and another nail in the coffin for NZ’s reputation for taking safety seriously.
There have been 37 deaths in quad bike accidents since 2008 and 3 since Boxing Day last year (source) Chief coroner Neil MacLean is said to be “frustrated by the large number of quad bike deaths around the country.”
We’ve blogged many times about the high numbers of deaths, serious injuries and near misses in New Zealand’s tourism industry, the egregious lack of safety awareness and attitudes that can be best described as “she’ll be right”. Read posts tagged Adventure tourism or see our adventure tourism and safety Wiki for further details.
A report into the inquest by Getsurrey.co.uk showed how both the NZ and UK coroners highlighted a serious lack of duty of care and health and safety awareness at the farm. What they found has wider implications for workplace health and safety, and the whole of the tourism industry in New Zealand, especially working holiday providers.
“Mr Travers explained there were no written instructions and no crash helmets, which he said would indicate problems with health and safety.
At the first inquest into Tom’s death, held in New Zealand in November 2009, nine recommendations were made by the chief coroner, which Mr Travers has agreed to support following his findings.
Among the nine were recommendations for a clear written policy on the use of all-terrain vehicles and that helmets should be worn when driving these vehicles.
He added that when employees were working in orchards, there should be supervision and a nominated person responsible for the health and safety of workers.
In addition, visitors and potential employees should not be permitted to start work without a health and safety induction and a proper introduction to the site.
Tom’s father thinks it is clear that health and safety in New Zealand needs to be assessed…” read more here
The report went on to mention a number of tourist deaths in New Zealand, all of which we’ve covered in this blog in the past, saying
Tom’s death is just one of many tragedies involving Britons taking gap year visits to New Zealand.
The mother of Sarah Bond spoke about New Zealand’s “she’ll be right” attitude,
What underpins all of this is the lack of safety and lack of care out there,” said her mother, Elizabeth Bond. “It feels like ‘accidents happen’ is their mantra.”
Enough is Enough
Now a group of 200 international families have decided enough is enough and are campaigning for a tightening up of New Zealand’s perceived lax safety standards. This is probably a continuation of the campaign that was started in 2010 by the families of British tourists Emily Jordan, Sarah Bond and Tom Sewell .
Furthermore, the majority of the NZ public agree with them that something must be done because it’s not just international tourists that are suffering.
There have also been other New Zealand deaths, not least the tragic deaths of student Catherine Peters, the 6 highschool students and a teacher who died in a canyoning exercise with the Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Centre and the Kiwis who were killed in the Fox Glacier plane crash (9 dead) and the Carterton hot air balloon disaster (11 dead)
From an article in the NZ Herald we learn that Tom Sewell’s mother had contacted her former MP, Sir Humfrey Malins who had
“written to the NZ High Commissioner in London two years ago on the family’s behalf expressing concern – but had not received a response.
Linda said that silence was “very disappointing”. The family would now be writing to Key, asking him to adopt the UK Coroner’s safety recommendations.
The international letter-writing campaign to draw attention to New Zealand health and safety problems is spearheaded by two other British dads: Chris Coker, who lost his son Brad in the Fox Glacier plane crash, and Chris Jordan, who lost his daughter Emily Jordan in a riverboarding tragedy. Chris Coker has set up a website to warn people about the risks in New Zealand.
Brad would have turned 27 tomorrow. “I couldn’t go to work for nearly a year and now I go to work and see an empty chair,” he said. “Why is it my job as a grieving parent to fight the terrible injustice of my son’s death because it was preventable?”… more here
We wish them all the best with helping to improve safety in New Zealand, it’s not an easy task given the degree of under-regulation of safety in the country.
In the meantime and until such time as things have improved, if you, or a family member, is planning an adventure tourism or working holiday in New Zealand perhaps you should consider somewhere with higher standards and where safety is regulated properly.
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NZ workplace safety a ‘national disgrace’ – consultant (NZ Herald Jan 2013) “New Zealand’s health and safety record has been labelled as ‘woeful’ and a ‘national disgrace’ by a consultant with two decades’ experience in the sector…Robyn Levinge says New Zealand has never prioritised health and safety like it has with road safety, domestic violence and drink driving…”As a country, we have simply not given health and safety the priority it deserves at any level…”
One Way Ticket (60 minutes TV, Oct 2012) “Every year, thousands of young Australians fly off for a gap year adventure. Their travels take them all over the world, often to poor and dangerous places that make their mums and dads fret…But the world capital of adventure tourism can be a deadly place as Glenn (Bourke) and eight others so tragically discovered…”
New Zealand Adrenaline Nation (ABC News, Oct 2012)”not everyone walks away from an adventure tourism experience in New Zealand. Over the past eight years at least 50 visitors have died when things went dreadfully wrong. Many more have suffered crippling injuries…In a forensic examination of New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry and safety regime, correspondent Dominique Schwartz exposes significant flaws in regulation and safety awareness. She investigates the activities of a prominent ballooning operator with a troubling track record and hears evidence that NZ’s taxpayer-funded accident compensation scheme (ACC) may be enabling poor practice.”
Man falls to his death whilst participating in team building fund day in Woodhill (NZ Police, March 2013)”A 57-year-old man fell to his death yesterday while attending a team building fun day at Treetops Adventures, Woodhill, Auckland. A Doctor and an Advanced Paramedic were participants on the course nearby and rushed to assist the man. He died at the scene as a result of his injuries. OSH attended the scene and are working closely with Treetop Adventures to investigate how the the fatality occurred.” The man was later named as Clifford Brabet. People at the park voiced concerns about safety and overcrowding before the fall.
Australian Tourist Injured In Bungy Accident, Another Has Collapsed Lung – Updated (May 2010)
Another Tourist Dies in New Zealand – Trainee Doctor Tom Donaldson killed at sand dunes (Feb 2009)
- Furious parents lash PM (nzherald.co.nz)
An ex-police officer has criticised the judicial system in New Zealand after a Kiwi judge discharged a sportswoman from a DUI charge and gave her permanent name suppression.
The sportswoman, who had twice the adult legal amount of alcohol in her system when caught drink driving, was given name suppression partly because of the effect a DUI rap would have on her ability to compete abroad.
Today the Herald published an interview with a “long serving traffic officer” ex policeman Stu Kearns, who headed the Waitemata serious crash unit. He told the paper that the decision undermined the police’s efforts to control drink driving, saying
“It’s absolute bollocks … it just beggars belief,” he said. “From what has been reported, it is disgusting. It’s a mockery, and it makes the job of the police a lot harder. People the police process for drink driving now will say, ‘Oh well, that athlete got off’, and think they can too.
“The police did their job, brought this person before the courts and they were let down by the system and a weak judge. It’s pathetic.” read more here
Police are currently seeking legal advice on whether they can appeal the court’s decision.
According to the NZTA youth drink-driving is one of the largest causes of death and injuries in New Zealand roads. Each year, young drivers cause nearly half of all alcohol-related road crashes.
Last week an Auckland barrister, Satendra Prakesh Singh, was banned from driving for six months and fined after pleading guilty to drink driving after he was involved in a road crash. He had 144mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood – nearly twice the legal limit. He tried, unsuccessfully, to apply for name suppression.
The disparity between that judgement, and previous name suppression cases, is bound to lead to accusations that New Zealand has a two-tier legal system where sporting and media personalities who are likely to travel abroad receive clemency that is denied to others.
For more read posts tagged name suppression.
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Drink drive girl, 13, crashes stolen car – youngest DUI this year caught in Penrose, Auckland
Can you imagine parking up to eat your takeaway, having a kid point a gun at your head and being told
“Get out of the car bitch, we want the car!“
You’d think you’d were in some war torn country, or perhaps some developing nation where crime is the only way for kids to survive. But no, this happened south of Auckland, New Zealand and the youngest child in this threesome was only eight years old.
It followed another incident in the town’s CBD on 15 October. An elderly woman was sitting in the back seat of a parked car when a young opportunistic thief gave her the fright of her life.
The Herald published the story today, saying that the 57 year old car jacking victim was stopped in Franklin Road, Pukekohe, last Sunday night when a
“boy, carrying what was believed to be a plastic rifle, opened her driver’s side door and demanded she get out.
“He’s tried to take the keys from the ignition and said, ‘get out bitch’,” the spokeswoman said.
Another boy, thought to be 15 or 16, then opened her passenger door and repeated the demand: “Get out of the car bitch, we want the car.”
The spokeswoman said the teenager, who was standing next to another boy, snatched her handbag and ran away with it.
The victim chased him while the two other offenders got into her car.
The bag snatcher then “doubled back” and got into the car and the trio drove off… more here
Police have yet to find either her handbag or her car. Our condolences and good wishes go out to her and we hope the police find these tearaways who may’ve stolen her car to order.
The problem is the younger kids are probably too young to be dealt with by the criminal justice system and there’s every chance they will fall through the net and continue into an adulthood of crime.
Only a few weeks ago pressurised police were urging Pukekohe residents to report crime as soon as it happened to give them a better chance of solving it. Two days previously they’d issued an alert about door-knocking kids pretending to sell chocolate whilst sussing out which homes were unoccupied and easier to burgle. Fittingly, the chocolate had been stolen, from the town’s Pak ‘n Save supermarket.
Spate of Crime headlined by bank robbery
What have these kids got to aspire to other than becoming career criminals? Back at the start of October PC Borrell wrote in his column for the Franklin Country News
“There’s been a heap of crime in this past week. The big one was the aggravated robbery involving a sawn-off shotgun at the Pukekohe ANZ on Monday morning…
Pukekohe staff arrested a 17-year-old for an aggravated robbery last week at the vets.
Also this week, in the Pukekohe CBD at night, we have had a spike in burglaries and cars getting broken into.
We’re pleased to report the 17 year old vet burglar was caught but no news yet on the bank robbers. But police did score another victory. They managed to close down a meth lab when they searched a property in Karioitahi beach. A man and a woman from South Auckland were arrested.
The town is currently being plagued by a teenage ”night thief stalking the streets” in the northern suburb. He’s breaking into houses whilst the occupants are asleep and taking anything valuable he can grab. More here.
What else is there for youth to do in Pukekohe, a small semi-rural south of Auckland described in Wikipedia as “A service town for the area formerly known as the Franklin District” with a population of just 26,300. What will it take to break the circle of crime in small town New Zealand?
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