Labour leader David Cunliffe says he's sorry that he's a
man because men commit most family violence.
He told a Women's Refuge forum in Auckland today that Labour
would put an extra $15 million a year into refuges and other
groups supporting the victims of family violence. But he
started his speech with an apology.
"Can I begin by saying I'm sorry," he said.
"I don't often say it. I'm sorry for being a man right now,
because family and sexual violence is perpetrated
overwhelmingly by men against women and children.
"So the first message to the men out there is: wake up, stand
up and man up and stop this bullshit!"
His message went down well with the overwhelmingly female
audience. One woman came up to him as he left and said she
had moved away from Labour but his speech had won her vote
Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said Labour had
consulted her about its policy, unlike the National
Government which announced its own policy on family violence
this week without consulting Refuge.
"David Cunliffe's speech was, I have to say, inspiring," she
She said National cut Refuge's baseline funding by $700,000
in 2011 and had never restored it, although "one-off" grants
for training and other extras had raised the movement's total
funding from $6.2 million in 2008 to $9.2 million today.
"That might include a position in Timbuktu to write a
children's programme, it's not an effective use of money,"
Mr Cunliffe promised an "action plan to eliminate violence
against women and children" that would be led by the Prime
Labour's policy also includes a promise to let the Law
Commission finish its work on alternative trial mechanisms
for sexual cases, which Justice Minister
Judith Collins put on hold after she took over the portfolio
three years ago.
Labour said it would consider:
• Changes cross-examination rules to ensure that victims of
sexual cases were not "put on trial".
• Allowing complainants in sexual offence cases to adopt
alternative trial processes such as restorative
• Specialist courts to hear sexual violence cases.
• Changing the definition of consent in cases of sexual
violation so that it doesn't impose "an unfair burden" on
Mrs Collins and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett
dismissed Labour's policy as "just smoke and mirrors".
"Their big initiative is to have family violence led by the
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This will come as
no comfort to the victims of family violence," they said.
"We need to focus on the victims and on prevention services
that actually work."