Paula Bennett the Minister of Social Welfare continues her attacks on the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society. She wants Cabinet to consider “introducing court-ordered sanctions or legislative changes to stop some parents from having more children”. For ‘some parents’ just read ‘Māori’ because that is what she is alluding to. Does she really believe in sterilization of some parents or is it a line to generate outrage. Bennett is letting us all down by ignoring the reasons behind this abuse and murder. Those reason lead to the real solutions and Māori such as Rawiri Taonui articulate them well.
So the judges shall decide who has children and who is not allowed to – we have seen the judgements of some of these judges in recent times – pathetic.
Bennett knows that currently a child at risk is removed from their parents and she admits that, “in the past year, 148 children were removed from a parent within days of being born”. So she is really after the children not being born at all because those 148 children aren’t with their parent/s anymore, so it is not about protecting them, they have been removed.
I agree with Metiria Turei co-leader of the Greens, who says about Bennett that
“She expressed great enthusiasm for the idea of forced sterilisation and did say that Cabinet had been considering just that option. Now, she has corrected herself - but I'm not so convinced that they haven't considered or won't consider it in the future.”
How bennett became a minister I just don’t get – oh that’s right she reflects our society and its beliefs. Bennett says that it is not about banning people from having children, but instead giving them the message that if they have another child it will be removed from them at birth. This is already done but bennett doesn’t want that to get in the way of the story. Don’t be mistaken it is fiscally based as well as ideologically driven.
Within our society we have people from all ethnicities and backgrounds who abuse and kill their children. The children have to be protected but sterilizing the parents is not the answer, that solution is disgusting. Māori figure highly in the statistics relating to abuse and murder of children. Rawiri Taonui wrote Mana Tamariki: Cultural Alienation. Māorichild homicide and abuse published in AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p187-202, (2011), on this subject and he found that the eye witness evidence from the first Europeans corroborate evidence from Māori knowledge including waiata and whakatauki showing children were treated with respect and tolerance traditionally by parents in Māori society. Yes, some children were abused or killed as isolated incidents, as is true within the histories of all peoples, but the prevalence of this abuse today, for Māori, has its genesis in colonisation and deprivation.
No one is trying to minimise the issue or pretend it doesn’t exist but to seriously deal with the issue means to understand what the real reasons are for it and that leads to where some of the solutions may lie. Re-enculturalization is one area of solutions, as Rawiri Taonui says,
“Promoting the rebuilding of culture within the perpetrator not only includes the beliefs and values of the ancestors, but also the history of the people, including colonization. At an individual level, this knowledge has the ability to dissipate anger by raising consciousness. Positive enculturalization enhances a sense of belonging, rebuilds identity and promotes self-worth. This facilitates the healing of relationships within families.” (p199).
Obviously there is still major work to be done and although current Māori child murder rates are decreasing at twice the rate as that for non-Māori, to achieve any momentum needs the government to support tangata whenua initiatives and ideas. Instead of sterilizing people, they need to be actually trying to fix the issues. There are considered views from Māori that need to be heard. Rawiri Taonui sums it up well,
“We rarely recognise that colonization and its concomitant intergenerational impacts constitute violence: colonization is the application of anger upon vulnerable peoples. This violence has a reciprocal reaction within the societies upon which it is inflicted: cultural alienation, forced assimilation and cumulative marginalization create anger in indigenous societies. Where this anger is not understood, it becomes internalized within the colonized society and inverts upon itself. The indigenous oppressed attack each other. Angry men fight each other, sometimes in gangs, the red fights the blue. Anger seeks the weak and vulnerable in the form of mothers and children, violence expresses itself by seeking innocence. Re-enculturalization can emancipate individuals, families and tribal groups” (p 199).
Now that is an analysis, not bennetts numbnuts approach. Sadly this whole angle from Bennett may just be a “go too far and then pull back to the actual position” approach – or maybe she really does believe it – I’m not sure which of those two scenarios scare me the most, they are both filthy.