GUEST BLOG: Kiri Hannifin  – Make domestic violence an election issue


Violence against women and children continues to be a profound issue in this country.  Despite the stellar efforts of thousands of grass roots workers to support victims of violence every day, we cannot seem to stem the tide.

The past year has been marked by some particularly brutal violence against women and children.   We have mourned the tragic deaths of several children and women at the hands of a current or previous family member.  The fact that half of all murders in this country are family violence deaths remains a national shame, as is the fact that we should be able to prevent each one.

2013 saw 95,080 family violence investigations carried out by the New Zealand Police, an increase of 7430 from the year before.  We should all be very concerned that in only 37,880 ‘investigations’ an offence was laid.  The message here is that overwhelmingly perpetrators of domestic violence are not held to account.  No wonder domestic violence is again going underground.  The Police themselves tell us they only see about 20% of all family violence is reported.  Imagine the terror of reporting a domestic violence incident, only to have the Police walk away.  You’d never bother again.  The repercussions would see to that.

Several years of legislative and policy changes across the social services and criminal justice sectors, aimed mostly at saving money, have done no favours to victims of domestic violence.   The State no longer affords adequate protection and safety to our most vulnerable.  The fact that fewer than 4000 New Zealander’s sought protection orders in 2013 is alarming.

Several social service providers from across New Zealand have come together over the past month to try and raise attention to these issues.   We see the profound social and economic impact of sexual and domestic violence in our daily work.  We have to act now.

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Women’s Refuge, Te Ohaakii a Hine-National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together, Shakti, Relationships Aotearoa, The Pacific Island Safety Project, National Network of Stopping Violence Services and the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services have joined together to promote a march to end New Zealand’s shameful levels of sexual and domestic violence.  We are heading to Parliament on Monday 15 September leaving Wellington’s Civic Square at 12 pm sharp.

We have invited the Prime Minister and his colleagues to meet us on Parliament’s steps just before 12.45pm. We want to give him a gift for Parliament – in the form of a 3 metre high, 300 kilogram statue of Kate Shepard.  Over the past two months, Women’s Refuge has had her image recreated using the signatures of hundreds of New Zealanders who want to take united action against violence.   We wanted to draw on her symbolism as a great champion of the rights of New Zealand women

The Prime Minister has already declined our invitation.

We’d love everyone’s support to end sexual and domestic violence against women and children.  Hope to see you on the 15th September.


Kiri completed her LLB and BA (Politics) at the University of Canterbury.  She has worked in several legal areas including Treaty and public Law in New Zealand and company law in the United Kingdom.  In the United Kingdom she also worked implementing European equality law before returning to New Zealand to work as a political advisor for the 5th Labour Government.    She has been working around intimate partner violence since 2007. 


  1. David Cunliffe tried to make it an issue but got roasted by the MSM establishment. I guess mainstream New Zealanders are too uncomfortable with this issue to talk openly about it or admit how big a problem it really is.

  2. It certainly is a problem, and fancy FJK not willing to walk out onto the steps of parliament to greet and acknowledge them all. David Cunliffe should show up to meet them instead, and Metiria Turei and Russel Norman, and Laila Harre (without .com). This would sort FJK and his cronies out for sure!
    FJK has ostrich syndrome – and of course this has nothing to do with money so it hold no interest for him.

    This link will show you just how bad violence and sexual abuse is in NZ.


  3. I’ve just driven 450 km’s through Bali and on my fourth visit there in twenty years . If you’ve been to Bali , you will know the bedlam that is their traffic . It’s also wonderful . I love driving in Bali because you can have an ” OMG ! I’m just about to have a head on collision ” experience without actually having one .
    The driving is an example of the mindset of the people. Loving , caring , empathetic . You will never , ever see the Balinese arguing in public . Domestic violence is unheard of and you can drive through mind bogglingly snarled traffic without one single show of aggression .
    In New Zealand ? Gods own ? You’d get shouted at , threatened , given the finger and more than likely assaulted . Passive aggression is an unofficial national sport here as is swearing , cursing , cheating , lying , sneaking , back stabbing and fucking others over for a dollar .
    We Kiwis are culturally predisposed to violence generally and particularly cowardly violence against those whom we should love the most in our homes and neoliberalism has worsened that to a level of Global embarrassment .
    If that institutionalised violence and related sociopathic behaviour is to change , our entire society , roots and all has to change .
    It’s the view of this writer that to begin the healing processes , we must kick out the Banks , write off mortgage debt and fire wall our dollar against foreign manipulation . In other words , we need a breather . We need to lean against our beautiful lands and take stock . We need be become human beings again and that’s not going to happen while the Banks and their associate scum , the insurers , are preying on our social diseases of fear , anxiety and depression .
    The Balinese have greater interests than money . They have their Spirits and their beliefs , they have beauty and each other . They have laughter and a wonderful sense of irony and pragmatism .
    Sadly , they also have us . We flock their in thousands and thousands and pour out over their Islands like lice . With our money and our vulgarities and I saw , while I was there in Ubud particularly , a dark presence of Western in-humanity staining the lives of the lovely Balinese . Fat ugly Americans , fat ugly Australians and fat ugly Europeans swanning about as if they owned the place . Doing sharp deals and snapping their fingers while fat arse deep in the cheap junk that creates local economic conflict and societal polution .
    I thiink it’s called ‘ inequality ‘ . We have that don’t we ? I read somewhere that we have that ?

    • I agree with everything you’ve said Countryboy, and I almost always agree with everything you say.

      But there’s something missing….

      Violence in NZ has a gender aspect to it. Leaving that aspect unexamined means that much of the possible solutions to the problem will not be revealed.

      In short, I’m saying that your argument could be deepened with analysis of why much of our domestic and sexual violence is perpetuated by men in New Zealand.

      Yes, violence is a result of inequality, as the dispossessed become desperate and lash out at those nearest to them in rage. Yes, violence is a result of banks enslaving the population with mortgages… but these are not the ONLY causes of violence in NZ.

  4. The following is the response email from the executive office of Metiria Turei, when I asked her if she would welcome these women because our PM has refused to:

    “I am writing on behalf of Metiria Turei MP to thank you for your email. And to let you know that Metiria will certainly be on the steps of Parliament on the 15th to greet and speak to all those attending.

    Kind regards,”

    This woman is amazing 🙂

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