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Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Tuesday, 10.07.2007, 10:54pm (GMT12)


(9th July 2007)

Sensible Sentencing legal adviser Stephen Franks today praised the scepticism and concentration of the Youth Parliament members of the Law and Order Select Committee. He presented the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s submission on reform of youth justice.

“I wish the real MPs were as suspicious of the soothing words they get from the criminal justice industry officials. The young people were told that our Youth Justice system is the best in the world, by officials who simply refuse to compare its results with the rest of the world.”

“The youth “MP’s” seemed disinclined to judge on kind intentions. They wanted to know what the smooth words meant.”

“Sensible Sentencing urged the young committee members to compare our current state with the rates that really matter – that is true criminal violence rates before the system became obsessed with ‘curing’ the sickness of individual offenders, instead of deterring most kids from going near crime in the first place.”

Sensible Sentencing’s recommendations were as follows:

To: Law and Order Select Committee – Youth Parliament 2007

What should be the focus of New Zealand’s Youth Justice System?
Answer: The goal should be exactly the same for every part of the criminal justice system – Minimising crime to protect innocent victims.

To that end it must respect what we now know about criminals. Speed and certainty of consequence can deter more than longer or harsher punishment.

Research shows one psychological measure on which criminals differ characteristically from non-offenders. Offenders have a high risk preference. In ordinary language they are gamblers, they seek out risk. They have high self esteem. They back themselves to beat odds ordinary people would not accept. Uncertainty encourages that gambling drive.

Our modern offender centred criminal justice system could scarcely be better designed to feed offenders’ exaggerated notions of their own luck. At every stage it maximizes uncertainty about the results of offending. The system encourages bets on the chances of:

  • Not being caught,

  • Not being charged once caught. The system does not keep good national records, so repeat offending may not even be recognized.

  • Being dealt with in laughable Family Group conferences. Promises to do good things may not be followed up by any authority, so can mean nothing.

  • Not being the one in 7 caught who go to the Youth Court;

  • Getting a judge who does not believe in punishment.

  • Getting a fine or community sentence that is not enforced. Eventually it will be wiped when the offender is next in Court facing more serious charges.

  • If unlucky enough to get sentenced to custody, being let out early because many youth custody facilities have been closed and new ones are too small.


Research also shows that offending patterns rarely change much once established. Accordingly, speed and certainty of consequence are especially important with entry-level or youth crime, before offenders become hardened. They must believe the law means what it says.

Our youth justice system breaches the first rule of sensible parenting, “don’t make idle threats you don’t mean to carry out.”

Zero tolerance is not zero compassion, or zero forgiveness. Second chances are ok. But not routine 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th chances. And even a second chance should have a cost. The normal social sanction of concern for reputation must be restored by ending automatic name and record suppression. Each apprehended youth offender should know there will be some unwanted consequence, instead of leaving more than 80 percent of apprehensions to go without formal procedure.

All communities are damaged by the weak youth justice system. It shows adults accepting feeble excuses. Criminal patterns are set that few can break as adults. We know that prisons don’t rehabilitate. The system should ensure that only incorrigibles will risk going there.

  1. Don’t patronize young people: They know it is unlawful when they buy cigarettes or alcohol other drugs, or prostitute themselves. The message when the law pursues only those who deal with young people, instead of those in the best position to stop the behaviour, is that the law is not meant seriously.

  2. Legitimise Police diversion: Confirm Police authority to offer first offender children and families the choice of participation in Police tough love programmes, on condition that if the Police conditions are not met, ordinary enforcement procedures through the courts will result.

  3. End the charade of family group conferencing: Preserve Family Group Conferencing for first and second offenders as a sensible form of restorative justice, but end it for habitual offenders and other “families” which do not care, or are criminals themselves. It should be a second chance, not a soft touch.

  4. Enforce restorative justice agreements: Allow Judges to make orders rendering restorative justice agreements enforceable, and authorise probation officers to supervise performance.

  5. Don’t patronise young people: Start criminal responsibility at age 10 for homicide (like the UK) and serious assaults, and at age 12 for all other offences.

  6. Give adult sentences for adult crimes: but ensure young people serve their sentences in facilities better suited to learning, keeping them separate from career criminals.

  7. Abolish the Youth Court and end Family Court involvement in crime, so that the District and High Courts would deal with all crime. Show at the first time offender’s first contact with the justice system just how seriously crime is treated.

  8. Enforce fines and other orders. A single agency (preferably the Police) should heave the responsibility and the full resources for ensuring adherence to orders in respect of young offenders. They could contract with other agencies if they wish.

  9. Restore judges’ power to design punishments to fit the crime: For example, judges should be able to make enforceable long term non-association orders to keep young people away from gangs.

  10. Punish bad parents: Hold parents responsible for readily preventable child offending.

  11. End vague talk about “counseling” and “interventions”: instead state specifically what real powers mentors or other custodians will have in respect of children, and what care children can expect from them.

  12. Restore shame: End name and record suppression for guilty young people and their families to cancel the message that youth offending does not really matter. Concern to protect family reputation is most cultures’ best first incentive for behaving. Secrecy tells kids that reputation will not matter, because the state will punish anyone who tells the truth about you.

  13. Ask hard questions about Tikanga Maori. Smarmy politicians give lip service to cultural respect. But they trash as “red-neck” the common-sense Maori justice values built around whakaama, muru and utu. With Maori offending so disproportionate to numbers, why do they not resuscitate those traditional cultural mechanisms to give some real meaning to cultural respect.?

  14. No racism: End the racist assumption that it is culturally offensive to expect the same standards of behaviour and care from all parents irrespective of race.

  15. Protect good parents: Protect from court and lawyer interference parents, and voluntary clubs, schools and employers which set and enforce behaviour standards.

  16. Bad company breeds bad behaviour: Restore non-association orders as a routine and strictly enforced consequence of offending to break up gangs and make bad company a burden



Stephen Franks
Justice Spokesman,
Sensible Sentencing Trust

Mobile : 027 4921983

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“What is to be done about CYFS?” asks the media – CYFSWATCH replies.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

“What is to be done about CYFS?” asks the media – CYFSWATCH replies.
Tuesday, 26.06.2007, 10:18am (GMT12)

Press Release What is to be done about CYFS?

From: cyfswatch cyfswatch (


Tuesday, 26 June 2007 10:18:21 a.m.


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What should be done about CYFS? asks the media on 25/6/07, after yet another near tragedy, whereby two 14 year old boys in CYFS care stole rifles, stole a car, and started taking shots at the police.

CYFSWATCH  have been telling the media what to do about CYFS since January 24th 2007, when the CYFSWATCH site was launched

1/ Hold a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Department of Child, Youth, and Family, with wide terms of reference, and include parental and family submissions to the Commission.

2/ Establish a CYFS Complaints Authority separate from Government, and staffed by qualified and experienced private citizens, not Government appointees. This Authority would have the power to censure, sack, and prosecute CYFS Social Workers for negligence, incompetance, illegal, and abusive conduct.

3/ Recognise that the current “accountability” system for CYFS is “accountability” in name only. The process of complaining to a CYFS Social Worker, then to a CYFS Social Work Supervisor, then to a CYFS Branch Manager, then to the Department of Child Youth and Family, then to the Social Workers Registration Board, then to the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, then to Minister of CYF Ruth Dyson, then to Minister of Social Development David Benson Pope, then to the Office of the Childrens’ Commissioner Cindy Kiro, and finally then to the Ombudsman is an exercise in futility, as the entire process is a self-perpetuating self-protective Quango weighted in favour of the state sanctioned offenders – the CYFS Social Workers.

4/ Review the 1989 Children, Young Persons, and the Families Act. Nowhere in the entire Act is any sanction against a CYFS Social Worker who is negligent, incompetent, acts illegally, or is abusive to clients.

5/ Investigate the over 300 complaints that CYFSWATCH have now received about CYFS Social Workers on its site. Just 3 complaints about unacceptable police conduct was sufficient to trigger a Government Commission of Enquiry – how many complaints are needed about CYFS Social Workers before the Government cries “enough”?


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Teens under CYFS 24-hr watch – in motels.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Teens under CYFS 24-hr watch – in motels.
Sunday, 01.07.2007, 12:23pm (GMT12)

Teens under 24-hr watch – in motels

By JENNY MACINTYRE – Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 1 July 2007

A teenager in Child Youth and Family’s custody was placed in the charge of professional carers who billed the department $30,000 for three months’ work.

Many other teenagers are staying in motels under the 24-hour supervision of security guards and caregivers, who watch over them in three eight-hour shifts.

Barrister Judith Surgenor, Family Court-appointed lawyer for youngsters in the custody of CYF, is frustrated by the lack of government funding to provide suitable facilities for troubled children.

“We pay all this money for individual children but it’s sheer nonsense. There is no facility to provide for kids with high, complex needs.

Lock-up units won’t take them – it’s terrible.”

Her concerns come as two brothers, who claim child welfare authorities failed to keep them safe in the 1960s and 1970s, seek more than $1 million each in a test case in the Wellington High Court.

CYF also came under fire last week after two 14-year-olds, in the care of a CYF-funded trust, were charged with attempted murder after they shot at police in the Bay of Plenty.

Surgenor says the cost for one child’s individualised care can be in excess of $74,000 a year.

She has been told there are about a dozen teenagers in motels under the 24-hour watch of two carers at a time – six people, seven days a week – with security companies providing back-up.

“It is a disgraceful waste of resources and has been a problem for 10 years, since CYF’s work was contracted out to different agencies who dabble in the work with no accountability.”

Children as young as 14 are escaping to live with their friends on the streets in a world of drugs and prostitution because there is no care for them, Surgenor says.

“They hunt in packs. They are out there causing havoc.

When parents cannot or do not care for their children, the responsibility must pass to the government, but CYF can be only as good as the government enables it to be.”

One of Surgenor’s clients, who has intellectual problems, is back out on the streets.

“She gets in with kids who take her into high-risk situations.

The public has no idea of the extent of the problems social workers are forced to deal with.

They talk of girls prostituting themselves while they are in CYF’s care, but where should the department place these kids? There are no facilities.”

Surgenor wants better residential facilities with therapeutic resources to meet the needs of kids in a secure environment.

Principal Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft said although CYF does hold alleged offenders in motels, supervised by trackers and minders, “this is preferable to the use of police cells which have become a de facto second method of custody for young people”.

Becroft said it was unacceptable to use police cells holding young people for 24 hours in solitary confinement.

Better management of youth justice residential facilities and supported bail programmes in the community have improved the situation, he said.

National’s welfare associate spokeswoman Anne Tolley said CYF was responsible for counselling and support for teenagers in its care, to help make some changes in their lives: “Otherwise they will become adult offenders and we have not changed anything.

“Putting them into a motel is only part of the job. This is babysitting until they are 18 and out of the care of CYF.

“We have got to look at residential facilities that can offer the kind of counselling, treatment and support these young people need.

In the past few years we have closed rather than opened these facilities.”

Tolley said the length of time courts could order youngsters into supervision for was another issue.

CYF chief executive Ray Smith said it was unusual for children to stay in motels, but conceded it occurred in exceptional circumstances.

Residential care was available for a small group of children who could not be cared for in the community.

“Improved case management and an increase of 10 beds at the Weymouth facility has reduced the pressure for residential beds over the last 18 months.”

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Family First hits a home run on Helen Clark – Clark hurting.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Family First hits a home run on Helen Clark – Clark hurting.
Monday, 02.07.2007, 10:40pm (GMT12)

PM backs minister in child smacking row

10:35AM Monday July 02, 2007
By Audrey Young 

David Cunliffe

David Cunliffe

The Smacking Debate

The Prime Minister has come to the defence of Cabinet minister David Cunliffe who is embroiled in a controversy over whether he smacked his 2-year son at a mall.

A witness at New Lynn mall claims to have seen Mr Cunliffe smack his child on the hand to punish him for having hit another child, according to the lobby group Families First. The group strongly opposed the anti-smacking bill passed by Parliament.

Mr Cunliffe’s version is quite different: “My 2-year-old was pulling at a little girl,” he said in a statement.

“I pulled his hand away and calmly told him not to do that.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark said she was astounded that what she calls an extremist organisation had chosen to drag a small child into the debate, simply because the child’s father is an MP.

Miss Clark said Mr Cunliffe acted within the law, but she expected opponents of the anti-smacking legislation would still make an issue of it.

“I can imagine that these obsessed people will look for ways of making vexatious complaints,” she said.

If a complaint is laid, police have protocols in place to deal with the issue, Miss Clark said.

The national director of Families First, Bob McCoskrie, said last night that while he believed Mr Cunliffe had done the right thing in correcting his son for his behaviour, under the new law the police would have been obliged to investigate had a complaint been laid. The police would then have had the discretion not to prosecute.

He said he had highlighted the case to expose what he thinks is a bad law.

“He carried out what any half-decent parent would do. So this is a perfect example of where we have created a law where someone like David Cunliffe could be prosecuted or at least someone could make a complaint and you would have to be investigated.”

Under the new law, it is an offence to smack a child for the purpose of punishment, but it is not an offence to physically stop a child from harming another child.


In compromise wording to the law agreed to by Prime Minister Helen Clark and National leader John Key, the police have been given explicit discretion not to prosecute in the case of inconsequential smacks where it is not in the public interest.

Mr Cunliffe’s version suggests he was doing the latter, preventing his son from hurting another child.

Mr McCoskrie’s version suggests that Mr Cunliffe technically breached the law but that it would be among those cases deemed to be too inconsequential to prosecute. However Mr McCoskrie believed the police could be obliged under guidelines to prosecute after a second or third minor or inconsequential smack, if a complaint was made, and refer the case to Child, Youth and Family.

“People like David Cunliffe are at risk of basically a law which brands him a criminal for doing what any other person deems reasonable and appropriate.”

Mr Cunliffe said that if Family First cared about families, “they would not be dragging the small children of MPs into a public debate”.

“I will not lower myself to Family First’s level by making any further comment.”

Prime Minister Helen Clark said Mr Cunliffe, the MP for New Lynn and Immigration Minister, had not attended yesterday’s Labour Party rally in West Auckland because of the incident. Mr Cunliffe and his wife were “distressed” by the publicity.

She said the Families First organisation, which issued a press statement about Mr Cunliffe smacking his toddler, should rebrand itself “Families Last”.

“What public interest is there in dragging that small child into the limelight because his father is a public figure?”

Asked if it was a case of Mr Cunliffe having committed a technical breach but it being too inconsequential to prosecute, she said: “There is no public interest served in a prosecution for an incident that is absolutely inconsequential and trivial and the law always envisaged that parents would restrain children from danger or harm to others.”


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Wonder what the fathers who are denied access to their children by CYFS on lesser grounds would think about this?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Wonder what the fathers who are denied access to their children by CYFS on lesser grounds would think about this?
Sunday, 08.07.2007, 05:32pm (GMT12)

Kahui wants to see his older son

New 5:00PM Sunday July 08, 2007

The father charged with murdering his three-month-old twins, wants his bail conditions altered so he can see his two-year-old son, Sunday newspapers report today.

Chris Kahui, 22, of south Auckland, is accused of murdering his sons Chris and Cru last year and is due to appear in Manukau District Court next month for a depositions hearing.

The Sunday Star-Times said Kahui had received permission for supervised access to his older son Shane but the court would need to alter Kahui’s bail conditions – which previously included instructions not to associate with children under 12 – for the visits to go ahead.

The Herald on Sunday said Child Youth and Family took the older son into care and Kahui was granted fortnightly visitation rights. But Kahui’s bail conditions stop him from travelling outside Auckland to see the boy.

Chris and Cru Kahui died in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital last year, five days after being admitted to intensive care with head injuries.


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Website editor in High Court (not CYFSWATCH).

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on July 14, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Website editor in High Court (not CYFSWATCH).
Thursday, 12.07.2007, 09:24pm (GMT12)

Website editor in High Court
Thu, 12 Jul 2007 01:51p.m.

A website editor is appearing in the High Court in Auckland for allegedly attacking senior judges on his sites.
Vince Siemer was arrested at Auckland Airport this morning upon his return from America.
A judgement issued on Monday said Siemer was in contempt of court for defamatory comments about several High Court Judges on two websites.
The comments stem from Siemer’s long-running campaign against the MetroWater Chairman, Michael Stiassny.

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Hawkes Bay Events

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on June 27, 2007

Hi guys – can you publish the following for me??
Hawkes Bay Events
It is now time for me to announce Dates and times for the events coming up in Hawkes Bay
There will be a protest outside the Napier Family court on thursday 26/7/2007 from 12noon to 1pm. There will be another one outside the Hastings family court on Friday 27/7/2007. Then the Republican party will have their Hawkes Bay launch on the Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 July, again a meeting in Napier and Hastings, but I will let them anounce thier times and venues themselves.
I am keen for as much support as possible. We have TV1 lined up to come (though whether they actually come is a bit of a lottery). I am confident we will have at least 15 people protesting and I have hopes that it may be as many as 30.
This will be a strictly legal but hard hitting protest. Anyone is welcome to come along and support us and if you want to say something on the megaphone then please talk to me about it. All reasonable contributions are welcome, we just need to take care that we stay within the law.

It is best to contact me via comments on this post, or phone 06 878 3013
To get an idea of what will be happening you can look at the following web site

For those people outside of Hawkes Bay who wish to come we can probably arrange low cost or no cost accomodation. We welcome anyone who wishes to join in, including grandparents, kids, partners etc, although we do call ourselves the fathers coalition, we do welcome women, mothers, girlfriends etc.
See you at the protest!!!!

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Video: Where the Socialist ideals of Labour and the Green Parties will ultimately take us all.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on June 6, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Video: Where the Socialist ideals of Labour and the Green Parties will ultimately take us all.
Thursday, 24.05.2007, 10:35pm (GMT12)

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Video: Hands on equal Parent NZ Videos of Interest

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on June 6, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Video: Hands on equal Parent NZ Videos of Interest.
Wednesday, 23.05.2007, 07:49am (GMT12)

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Video: British man takes his child after wife repeatedly defies access orders.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on June 6, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Video: British man takes his child after wife repeatedly defies access orders.
Wednesday, 23.05.2007, 07:46am (GMT12)

‘I Was Left With No Option’

A British businessman in China has snatched his own son in a desperate bid to regain contact with him. John Sims was denied access to six-year old Devon for four years by his ex-wife. Sky’s China Correspondent Peter Sharp has this exclusive report.,,30200-1266247,00.html

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