Amy Adams on addressing family violence

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams was interviewed on Q & A this morning on Government on ways they are looking at ways of better addressing family violence.


It was an excellent interview. It’s very encouraging to see Adams’ knowledge of the issues and determination to make a difference.

Jo Muir () tweeted a few points:

Govt looking at creating separate offence for family violence to make it easier to track. Could lead to greater sentence as well.

Tougher charge and tougher penalties for family violence in order to protect vulnerable children in particular.

Innocent until proven guilty still fundamental part of system.

41 per cent of police response time currently spent on family violence

A shocking statistic.

Details and a video link should be available soon (it will be on  One+1 in a few minutes).

Family violence is one of the biggest problems in New Zealand society. There are huge personal, social and financial costs.

Recent release:


Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley have today launched a new work programme to ensure government agencies respond better to family and sexual violence.

“Despite crime rates in New Zealand falling to a 35-year low, family violence remains unacceptably high,” Justice Minister Amy Adams says.

“We need to do more to prevent and address family violence in New Zealand.

That means taking a hard look at the way government agencies currently work together and what improvements can be made to help break the cycle of violence.”

Earlier this year, the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence commissioned a stocktake of family and sexual violence services across all Government agencies.

“We wanted to get a better picture of what was being spent where and its effectiveness, which is in line with our wider social investment approach,” Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.

The stocktake found the Government spends an estimated $1.4 billion each year responding to family and sexual violence. It highlighted that while good work was being done, there is room for improvement, with fragmentation and duplication of services among some of the issues raised.

The new family violence work programme seeks to address those issues. It will be used to develop a whole-of-government strategy to tackle these problems and provide better results for victims.

The work programme will:

  • focus on reducing the long-term harm of family violence
  • gain a better understanding of  the current gaps and duplication in services, as well as look at what initiatives are delivering results, so that better investment decisions can be made
  • determine how services are linked together across government, with a view to appointing lead agencies to focus on particular areas of work
  • ensure services are focused on clients’ needs
  • ensure the two work streams led by Justice and Social Development are part of a cohesive whole.

“This new work is about focusing on delivering services that are effective, so we actually improve the lives of our most vulnerable New Zealanders,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The work programme builds on the practical package of initiatives we announced last year, which included establishing a Chief Victims Advisor, rolling out a nationwide home safety service and reviewing our domestic violence laws. The work programme is being expanded to include sexual violence,” says Ms Adams.

As part of the new approach, Ministers will be more involved in coordinated decision-making through the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. They will also ensure that NGOs have a bigger role to play. The Ministerial group replaces the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families.

Ministers will receive further analysis of which agencies are best placed to ensure that services are effective across Government.

Agencies will develop advice, an investment strategy and an action plan, with the first report due to be provided to Cabinet by December 2015.

The Ministerial Group On Family Violence And Sexual Violence Cabinet Paper can be found at

Related Documents

There will be more information released next Wednesday.

Details about Amy Adams on National’s website.

Peters bigger than democracy?

The prospect of power seems to be going to Winston Peters head.

It’s good, even essential, for politicians to be ambitious. It’ doesn’t look so good when they appear to put themselves above democracy.

3 News reported: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election

At a glance that looks like a poor headline. Up until now voters have decided elections.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government.

Obviously Peters wants to hold the balance of power after the election and play National off against Labour, trying to use more power than the voters have given him. He may think he is due more power after the voters left him fairly powerless after the last three elections. But i a democracy parties don’t accumulate power credits that they call on in one hit.

Mr Peters’ first job of the day was to hurl criticisms at the media – “your polls are crap”, “stop this nonsense” and “you ask some stupid questions”.

And yet the media keep flocking to feed the beast.

Mr Peters also launched an attack on the Greens, saying it cost the Left last year’s election by attacking Labour, adding the Greens will be irrelevant by 2017.

His memory is different to mine. The Greens wanted to work closely in the campaign with Labour and look like a united option for Government, and Labour turned up their nose at that.

Internet-Mana scared voters away from the left.

While some vote for NZ First to stick one up National the fear of Peters overplaying power almost handed National a majority on their own.

But the biggest culprit of the Left losing last year was Labour.

“Every Green voter knows they can’t make it,” says Mr Peters.

That’s stupid talk. I think in general Green voters have more passion and belief than others – especially Winston voters.

“I expect us to do better than we’ve ever done before by miles.”

Votes are earned, not expected. It looks like Peters’ success in Northland has gone to his head.

Mr Peters also vowed to grow the party membership by more than 10,000 members, or he’ll resign. Moments later, he did a dramatic U-turn, claiming he didn’t say that.

“Maybe I didn’t hear it properly.”

He seems to only hear what he wants to hear. Maybe he didn’t think it through before making a rash promise.

Politicians need to be ambitious, but if they look too cocky, if they look like they want to overplay the power that voters give them, and if they make claims that they don’t mean then it can make enough voters wary to cause an electoral backlash.

Peters will be loving all the attention he gets at his party’s conference, but that looks like it’s going to his head and over inflating an already large ego.

One of Peters’ aims is to out-poll the Greens to give him more coalition negotiating power than the Greens.

Greens co-leader James Shaw tweeted: “Dreams are free.”

“James has been in the game five minutes,” says Mr Peters.

And Peters would hate to have to play second fiddle to a five minute leader.

Another of Peters’ aims will be to be in a position to play National off against Labour. If National and Labour end up close, within a few percent, then Peters may get away with it.

But if National retain a healthy margin over Labour and Peters negotiates baubles of power with Labour over National – and Labour will be more desperate to lead the next Government, then whatever gains NZ First might make this term will probably evaporate, and then some.

If Peters loses credibility again, alongside Labour, then it risks being a one term Government and if that happens it would likely be the end of Peters political career, effectively if not actually.

One thing is certain – there will be many more things in play than Winston Peters come the 2017 election. One thing will be Peters having to divide his attention between holding his Northland electorate and campaigning nationally.

Then there will be how well National weather their third term, whether Andrew Little and Labour manage to look competent, whether Colin Craig is silly enough to through a few more million dollars at an ambition that is now surely futile, whether a hacker feeds Nicky Hager ammunition for another campaign impacting book, whether Kiwis embrace the idea of a new flag identity, and other things we don’t know about yet.

Much of Peters’ success is being seen as anti-power, the maverick fighting against powerful odds.

If Winston promotes power hunger and power monger to much it could backfire on him and New Zealand First.

Democracy has a way of dealing to politicians who play power above the people’s preference.

Peters vows to contest next election, unless….

This weekend NZ First are having their  22nd annual convention. For a support sized party they have done very well, recovering from a hiccup in 2008, recovering to get back into parliament in 2011 and building support in 2014.

Stuff reports: He’s 70, but Winston Peters has no plans to retire

Forty years after he first entered New Zealand politics, the NZ First leader is planning his next election campaign and heading into his party’s 22nd annual convention. Isn’t he tired of politics?

“Why would you ask that?” he chuckles.

“I’m 70 years old, that’s a fact. But the point is I’m in a job I can do and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

“I could give it up and my next big wish would be to spend time doing up boats and what have you. But the reality is, would I be interested after three months doing that? How many days can you go fishing?”

Bolstered by the Northland by-election win, he says he’ll stand again in 2017.

That will disappoint a few opponents but please most of his party, except perhaps for one or two with their own ambitions.

And Peters is pushing to build the party even more.

“This convention is all about two things: membership and money,” he says.

Head office will waive levies on electorates if they reach new membership targets. Peters is also a Facebook devotee. “We are the second highest on Facebook to John Key, we are past 40,000.”

That depends on who ‘we’ is.

The New Zealand First Political Party has 7,806 likes on Facebook.

It’s Winston Peters Politician who has 40,354 likes.

And other party Facebook likes:

  • Labour Party 40,322
  • Green Party 73,484

There is a lot riding on his personal appeal. Winston’s drive for more membership has been quoted as a condition of his carrying on.

Winston Peters has vowed to resign as NZ First leader if his party membership does not grow by at least 10,000 over the next two years.

In two years time we will be heading towards the next election. Will Peters stand by that? Maybe his new energy and charm will attract 10,000 new members so he doesn’t have to face that decision.

But if he steps down the forty thousand likes may step down with him.

UPDATE ALREADY (This is Winston): Winston Peters goes all-in on ‘tens of thousands’ NZ First membership increase

NZ First leader Winston Peters will resign if he fails to increase party membership by  “tens of thousands” in the next two years.

Peters made the pledge to become a “mass membership party” to reporters at his party’s annual convention in Rotorua on Saturday morning.


…in a baffling exchange, he immediately backed down.

“We are targeting tens and tens of thousands of party members…we think that is possible,” he said.

Asked if he would resign if he didn’t meet that target, Peters replied: “Yeah. precisely. Because there would be no sense going on … two years flat … do we have a target of more than ten thousand? Yes we do.”

Then asked to re-affirm if he would stand down, Peters changed his mind.

He answered:  “No. I said if we don’t increase our membership. Go through it very slowly … maybe I didn’t hear it properly. But I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t wrong to the factor of three times that.”

So now it’s just “if we don’t increase our membership”.

There will be no way to hold Peters to account on his goal – he won’t release membership figures.

So Winston’s rhetoric wins again, whatever he meant to say.

Legal action via media

There’s been a number of prominent examples of people using legal action in parallel with media campaigns.

This week Colin Craig launched a media blitz before even filing defamation action, and he has continued to work the media as much as he can via follow up interviews and social media promotion.

If his claims against Jordan Williams, John stringer and Cameron Slater hold up then it will have been a nasty campaign against Craig.

But why would Slater in particular make accusations he couldn’t back up knowing that Craig had a history of legal action? Slater has a lot of experience in legal actions so will have been well aware of the risks and what caution was prudent.

And the way Craig has used the media as his main form of attack questions his credibility in some ways. He seems to be more intent on fighting a PR battle using the threat of defamation as one of a number of tools.

It looks more like grandstanding than defending his integrity.

The timing may be influenced by Craig’s obvious ambition to get enough support in the Conservative Party to be reinstated as leader.

Is he playing to the party audience? To some extent that must be his aim.

But when legal action – presuming he follows through with defamation proceedings – is overwhelmed by a media blitz then it appears that legal resolution is not the main aim.

And if it gets to court the public campaigning may be taken into account in making any judgement of possible damages.

Craig has drawn more attention to what has happened and what has allegedly happened than anyone else, and he continues to do this via media.

Even if, despite all the self generated publicity, he manages to get a favourable court decision that will probably take too long for him politically.

He appears to want to be Conservative leader soon and to contest the election in 2017.

Sure if his claims are correct he has reason to feel aggrieved but his political comeback seems to be his primary focus, and legal threats look to be one of a number of means towards an intended end.

This looks very political, so that plus Craig’s media blitz must raise questions about the potential effectiveness of any threatened legal action.

Craig can reasonably be questioned what his priority is, resurrecting his political career or his personal integrity.

Is this legal action via media? Or media action with legal threats thrown in?

(Note to Craig: you have a right of reply)

Final Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations

Final negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership are currently under way in Hawaii.

There’s a lot of politicking going on but it’s all based on very limited information – as is normal for trade negotiations they are being done ‘secretly’.

We have to wait until there’s an official announcement about what has been negotiated before we know whether the pros might outweigh the cons for New Zealand or not.

Russel Norman and the Greens were complaining yesterday, in Question Time in Parliament and on Twitter:

The Govt has told other countries our negotiation position on , so why keep it secret from NZers?

If they need to ask that they should be asking themselves if they are ready to be a part of Government. Negotiations frequently need to be un-publicised.

I suspect the Greens don’t publicise all the negotiations they have within their party. That’s normal too.

Greens may need to experience the reality of being a part of Government to understand how things work. Transparency is a good ideal to aspire to, but can sometimes be counter-productive, especially in international negotiations.

Once we find out what is in the final agreement we will be able to judge whether it will be good for New Zealand overall or not.

Until then the guessing and scaremongering and naivety will continue. And I guess Norman will continue to pander to his base as he cannot contribute to the negotiations in Hawaii.

Andrew Little trying to sabotage democracy

Andrew Little continues to devalue our democratic process in an ongoing two faced attack on the flag referendums.

NZ Herald reports in Second flag referendum should be scrapped if voter apathy continues – Labour

Labour is opposing the bill despite leader Andrew Little’s own desire for a new flag and its 2014 policy to start the process to secure that change.

Putting petty politics before principles.

“New Zealanders all around the country have told us now is not the right time to change the flag. Almost no one turned up at public events to promote it, millions of dollars were wasted on websites and postcards and a celebrity panel of experts.

“And now John Key is continuing to push his pet project through despite overwhelming opposition.”

Over ten thousand entries were submitted as alternate flag possibilities. Many of those involved considerable thought and effort.

We have a robust inclusive consultative and democratic process in place including two binding referendums, and Little wants that all scrapped on his say so.

If fewer than half of eligible voters take part in the first flag referendum the second should be scrapped, Labour say.

Little is using a binding people’s referendum to try and score points against John Key.

He is actively trying to sabotage a referendum for his own political purposes, contrary to his and his party’s stated policy on flag change.

I think this is disgraceful Andrew. You should be ashamed of this cynical abuse of our democratic process.

But if Little thinks things should change based on popular opinion how about the latest 3 News/Reid Research poll for Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Andrew Little 10.2% (down 1.4)

That’s a lot less than half – will you scrap your leadership Andrew?

I doubt you will do that.

But more seriously, will you stop shitting on our democracy?

A Little disingenuous on flag choice

Andrew Little has supported public consultation on flag change in the past. But now that we are getting just that he doesn’t want it – because it’s not the right time apparently.

ODT reports:

Mr Little said while thousands of New Zealanders wanted a change of flag, they did not believe it was the right time.

“This is not a poor reflection on New Zealanders, many of whom would like something different. Many of them want a change to the national anthem too, because they are sick of singing a dirge every time you turn up to a festive occasion. Most of them sing along to the Australian national anthem before they sing along to our own.”

He repeated his call for the Government to halt the flag referendums process.

This is very disappointing from Little. He wanted a flag choice process, he wants a flag change, but he opposes the current process. This looks like petty political pissiness.

And he is speaking too much for “New Zealanders” who he doesn’t represent nor listen to very well.

I don’t sing along to the Australian anthem. On a recent occasion I stood respectfully but silently for the Australian anthem at Fig Tree Pocket State School in Brisbane at my granddaughter’s weekly assembly. It was a weird feeling standing surrounded by Australians singing their song. It felt foreign to me.

Mr Little made the comment during debate in Parliament on the Flags Referendums Bill, a bill Labour is opposing despite Mr Little’s own desire for a new flag and Labour’s 2014 policy to start the process to secure that change.

What happened to “cut the crap” Mr Little?

“National govt have become deeply cynical”

I don’t know if Chris Hipkins ran this tweet past Party HQ before posting it or not (see Labour HQ asks members to check with them before tweeting)…

The National govt have become deeply cynical and more concerned about their own prospects than those of everyday NZers.

…but it may have struggled to pass the irony test.

Craig still acting as Conservative leader

To all intents and purposes Colin Craigappears to be still acting as leader of the Conservative Party, even though he resigned as leader and automatically dropped out of the party Board over a month ago.

Craig announced a press conference this afternoon on Twitter:

Press Conference
Wednesday 29 July at 2:00pm
Level One, The Spencer on Byron Hotel
9-17 Byron Avenue,Takapuna

Please be advised that Colin Craig will be holding a Press Conference at the above time and date. Colin will be making two significant announcements, and he will take questions at the end of his address.

He will also be available for interviews afterwards.

Bev Adair-Beets
Media Liaison – Colin Craig

His Facebook looks like he is still campaigning, and he still has an authorisation message.

He linked to this from his twitter account where he is still presented as “Leader of The Conservative Party of New Zealand”:


On the Conservative Party website Craig is still listed as leader:

Head Office

Conservative Party HQ

Party Leader

Name: Colin Craig

Email: Via Press secretary

Cell phone: Via Press secretary

Press Secretary for Colin Craig

Name: Bev Adair-Beets

And that same Party press secretary is listed on the Press conference promo as “Media Liaison – Colin Craig “

It appears that Craig’s resignation as leader on June 19 made little difference to him leading the party.


What sort of money is fueling Auckland property boom?

‘Kiwi-guy’ keeps repeating that Chinese “hot money” is driving Aucklands property price inflation.

Labour’s move on Chinese hot money flooding Auckland property market is vindicated by real estate outfits:
“Labour’s data pointing to large numbers of China-based buyers speculating on Auckland residential properties did not surprise Barnett.”
The property hustlers know the cat is out of the bag now and are positioning themselves accordingly.

Except that Labour’s data did not determine anything about the number of Chinese-based buyers. Labour pointed to it as probable but provided no data to back up that presumption.

More quotes from that article from Kiwi-guy.

“I believe that overseas investment is good for New Zealand but I believe it should only be in new construction. The overseas investors should have to build new houses, not buy into the existing housing stock. That creates shortages,” Barnett said.

“Then, if overseas investors come to New Zealand and develop houses, they are adding to the housing stock. I think that’s a good thing. But I acknowledge those are not the rules in New Zealand currently,” he said.

The problem with that is Auckland has a shortage of building sections, and the problem their is land price inflation. If overseas investors were forced into new builds only that would do thing to stop land values being pushed up as they would be competing for a limited supply.

“I approve of Inland Revenue’s new rules from October that all buyers must have an IRD number. Those controls are good because property values have traditionally risen over a long term and speculators should pay tax.

“I believe people should be taxed on the profits they make from a business and if it is your business to buy and sell houses, you should have to pay tax on that.”

Speculators are required to pay tax now. If your business is to buy and sell houses then the Government and IRD make it clear that tax is due on any profits. IRD have been increasingly active in enforcing current tax law that covers speculation and trading in property.

Also at NZ Herald is a report on some actual data – Investors head first-home buyers.

New Zealand banks approved three times as many mortgages for investors as they did for first home-buyers over the past year, Reserve Bank figures show.

The Reserve Bank’s lending data showed that in the first half of this year, banks approved 31,123 home loans for investors and 9,890 for first-home buyers.

The average loan size was also larger for investors. Over the past six months, investors were given an average mortgage of $331,427, compared with $317,796 for first-home buyers.

The article looks a bit like a Phil Twyford PR piece as he is quoted prominently. Further down the article a mortagge specialist is also quoted.

Mortgage specialist Bruce Patten, of Loanmarket, said that the figures “matched his experience”, and possibly even underplayed the prominence of investors in the market.

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily at the expense of first home-buyers but it’s certainly in competition with first-home buyers,” Mr Patten said.

The proportion of loans going to investors appeared to be increasing as property speculators rushed to buy or sell in Auckland before lending rules were tightened in three months’ time.

“June was the biggest month … the banks had ever seen in terms of processing mortgages,” he said.

“The numbers are horrendous at the moment. The banks are running at absolute capacity.” From October, investors will need to have at least a 30 per cent deposit if they are buying within the Auckland Council limits – a move which could make the market more accessible for first-home buyers.

This demonstrates risks with trying to alter the market through regulation, the market reacts to impending changes.

What to do about it? Should lenders be forced to loan more to first home buyers and less to investors? Even if it could be done it would probably increase lending risks.

And way down the article a property investor points out the obvious.

Property investor David Han says it is easier for those who already own properties to invest in more.

“Banks require security, when you already own properties it makes it easier to get a loan than someone who has nothing,” Mr Han said.

He said he chose to invest in properties because it was “simple” and “straightforward”, unlike other forms of investments.

“To invest in shares or business, for example, banks will look at income projections, business plans … it’s harder to get the bank’s money,” he said.

“When it comes to property, it’s a lot simpler and easier to borrow money because the property also provides better security for the bank.”

Mr Han said the “toughest part” for any would-be property buyer would always be getting a loan to buy their first property.

Especially for first home property buyers in the inflated Auckland market.

There’s no easy solution to this, unless people wanting to become property owners look to where houses are more affordable to make a start on the property ladder.

A problem that may always remain is that Auckland wants to be a ‘international’ city, so is likely to be expensive to live in, like Sydney, New York, London etc where first home buyers on average incomes are priced out of the markets.

Is the answer to enforce isolation for Auckland and New Zealand and put strict property price controls in place? Eve to deflate property values in Auckland?

I doubt even Labour would go anywhere near there.

But back to Kiwi-guy’s original point – there is still no data on the proportion of overseas investor money going into the Auckland market – and the Reserve Bak mortgage data shows there is a lot of local money going into the market.

There is still no data on the proportion of Chinese based buyers in the market.

And I haven’t seen any evidence that any Chinese money is “hot money”. Perhaps Kiwi-guy can explain what he means by “hot money” and perhaps he can provide evidence of what proportion of house purchases involving “Chinese hot money”.


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