$80m pledge to cut family violence, abuse

Multimillionaire businessman and philanthropist Owen Glenn has pledged around 10 per cent of his wealth to ending family violence and abuse in New Zealand.

Otara in South Auckland, one of the country's poorest urban centres, is to be used as the "pilot'' community in the implementation of a series of programmes, and will immediately receive $8m from the Glenn Family Foundation.

The rest of the $80m pledged by Mr Glenn is to be doled to various organisations nationwide over coming years.

Mr Glenn made the announcement to dignitaries and community leaders in Otara this morning.

"It is shocking to think that in a beautiful country like New Zealand these problems exist but the growing statistics are alarming and it's simply not good enough,'' he said.

"People don't realise that the cost of domestic violence and child abuse to the New Zealand economy is the equivalent of rebuilding Christchurch every four years - forever. It's a national embarrassment.''

Glenn Family Foundation chairman Barry Spice outlined what the Otara money would be used to:

• Support Otara Health to develop a Families Centre and to provide and co-ordinate a range of programmes and services for the community
• Support Eastern Women's Refuge and its associated Men's Caucus to establish a Men's House and programmes for violent men
• Work with the Warriors and Hockey New Zealand to support young people's engagement and learning in schools in Otara
• Work with business and the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board to fund and construct a 1.6km cycling and exercise track in Ngati Otara Park
• Introduce a "Coaching Boys into Men'' programme for coaches and trainers to help boys understand that violence on or off the field is not okay
• Support Sistema Aotearoa to teach Otara children to play music
• Support Otara Schools interested in introducing or expanding e-learning
• Support the Garden to Table programme, which introduces practical education on how to grow vegetables and fruit and to cook the produce
• Support the Young Enterprise Trust to offer practical enterprise, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programmes to Otara school students
• Support the Springboard Trust with its work providing leadership training for school principals in low decile areas
• Support Teach First New Zealand efforts to increase the supply of science, math and English teachers to high schools in low decile areas
• Set up scholarships for Otara students who are the first members of their family to enter into tertiary education or training

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the package was "unbelievable'' and praised its holistic vision.

He said the philosophy behind it was "a hand-up not a hand-out''.

Mr Brown urged Mr Glenn to see the programme through in the long-term.

"I know your intent and your purpose is genuine and is long-term, and I urge you and encourage you to stay long-term because the community has known pilot schemes over the years.''


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