Resistance to inquiry into forced adoptions

The pressure on young women and girls to give up their babies for adoption, effectively forcing them, was awful, albeit in a different social age (our society has changed hugely since the 1960s).

The petitioner Maggie Wilkinson, and Green and Labour MPs are complaining after National voted against an inquiry at a parliamentary committee.

Newstalk ZB: Government accused of shutting down calls for formal inquiry into forced adoption

Waihi woman Maggie Wilkinson, whose just-born child was taken away from her at age 20 fifty years ago, started a petition urging an inquiry into institutional abuses.

Wilkinson says unmarried women at the time weren’t even allowed access to contraception. They were naive, and taken advantage of by the state.

“It was a great opportunity to take our children and give them to married people who had either missed the boat in having a family, because of war, etcetera,” she said. “It was a supply.”

Although Wilkinson’s petition was rejected by the parliamentary committee, she’s refusing to listen to those who say she should just “get over it.”

“I can’t [get over it] because there are women like me who are still alive and there are some women who died without holding their child, without seeing their child,” she said.

It was a horrible thing inflicted on mothers, and on the babies regardless of what there adopted life was like.

Green MP Jan Logie…

…isn’t happy the government MPs who have dismissed the matter out of hand, and is critical of their view that times and practices have changed.

“That is an argument in terms of dismissing it, [and] robs all of us in this country of an opportunity of understanding and giving those women some closure,” Logie said.

Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni…

…believes holding an inquiry is important, and she believes the same mistakes could happen again if citizens don’t reflect on and learn from the past.

“So many women, and broader families as well, were impacted by this, and so they deserve to have their experience recognised.”

In Australia…

…a Senate inquiry was held and then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a historic national apology in 2013 to women similarly affected.

The Senate committee report found unwed mothers were pressured, deceived and threatened to give up their babies, so they could be adopted by married couples.

Much like in New Zealand. It was perpetuated by the State but family of the mothers were also complicit, trying to avoid social embarrassment.

Newshub: Tearful calls for forced adoption inquiry rejected

Women who sat in tears sharing their stories of being made to give up their babies through forced adoption have been refused an inquiry into the practice.

Parliament’s social services committee has rejected a petition by Maggie Wilkinson who called for a full investigation into the practice, which saw hundreds of children put up for adoption between the 1950s and 1990s against their mothers’ wishes.

In a report from the committee, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the committee acknowledged the “pain and suffering” women like Mrs Wilkinson and their children went through, but a majority found an inquiry wasn’t the best way to deal with the issue.

“Although we do not agree with many adoption practices from the 1950s to the 1980s, we note that these practices reflected the social values and attitudes of the time,” the majority found.

“We cannot undo what has been done before but we can stop the denial and silence and support people to move forward,” Ms Logie’s Green Party minority view says.

In their statement the party hit out at evidence presented to the committee by the Ministry of Vulnerable Children, which did not address the specific questions presented by Mrs Wilkinson and her backers, who also disputed parts of the official evidence.

They’re backing a broad and full inquiry and an apology.

The Labour Party also backs ongoing calls for an investigation.

“We moved a motion at select committee for an inquiry to be carried out; however, unfortunately this was costed down by the Government members of the committee,” the Labour minority view in the report says.

The first calls for an inquiry were to former National MP Trevor Rogers in 1992.

That’s a bit ironic.

The current National Government seems to be averse to inquiries into past injustices. They have also avoided an investigation into mental health abuses.

MPs on the Social Services Committee:

SocialServicesCommittee

 

Green MP: “huge win” for victims of sexual violence

A significant achievement by Green MP Jan Logie who initiated a Social Services Select Committee inquiry into sexual violence services, with the Government accepting or broadly accepting all the committee’s recommendations.

Funding to implement the recommendations will be announced in the budget in May.

Green Party press release: Huge win for sexual violence survivors and services today

The Government’s decision to accept all recommendations from a Select Committee inquiry initiated by Green Party MP Jan Logie is a huge win for sexual violence survivors and those working to help them, the Green Party says.

The Government has today released its response to the recommendations of the Social Services Select Committee, following an inquiry into sexual violence services sparked by Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie. The Government has accepted or broadly accepted all 32 of the committee’s recommendations.

“This is an enormous win for the victims of sexual violence and for those working to help them, who have endured a severe lack of funding for far too long,” Ms Logie said.

“It is a huge relief that the inquiry I initiated, with the help of the committee chairman Alfred Ngaro, will see real change in sexual violence services for victim survivors.

“I look forward to a substantial budget increase in this year’s Budget, and for the Government to collaborate with the sector to deliver a new model.

“While indications are good overall for the sector, the Government qualified their support for three important recommendations: accessible services, remuneration for staff, and strengthening existing kaupapa Māori services. I will be continuing to advocate for these crucial outcomes.

“Over the past two years the committee heard how the victims of sexual violence have gone without the help they need.

“Instead of being funded properly, vital services like Rape Crisis and Women’s Refuge have had to cut hours and reduce services as their funding was cut or not increased to meet demand.

“I have been out collecting for Rape Crisis today for their annual appeal, but the survival of services should not rely solely upon charity.

“We look forward to more collaboration, more money, and better services for victim survivors,” Ms Logie said.

I admit to not being impressed by Logie as an MP in the past but this is a significant achievement.

Logie has proven that opposition MPs can be effective and achieve results.