Wellington students lauch #MeToo blog in bid to make university experience safer

Stories of sexual assault and suggestions to improve Victoria University's support for survivors have been flowing in since the launch of a #MeToo blog by the university's students' association this morning.

Welfare vice-president Beth Paterson said the anonymous blog provides past and present students with a space to open up about their experiences with sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.

It’s also hoped the blog will highlight in what ways the university and wider Wellington region can be improved when it comes to safety, support, appropriate practices and subject content.

"There’s so many areas that need action in this space," Ms Paterson said.

"There'll be different things needed in halls of residence like training on recognising negative behaviours and on how to intervene as a by-stander, in the classroom; what are appropriate behaviours and relationships to have and there’s a lot of learning that needs to be done.

"I think in this community, as well as having really clear and transparent policies on reporting and making complaints."

Ms Paterson said sexual abuse and harassment survivors can access counselling services or report incidents to police, but often people don’t want to go there.

"I hope that this kind of blog gives people a bit of confidence in processing their own story so they can talk to someone if they need to," she said.

Stories are moderated before they’re posted, with names and identifying features or locations removed.

Ms Paterson said she felt the safety processes in place were sufficient for allowing the stories to be shared online.

The blog will be open for a month, before the stories are shared with Victoria University, Wellington City Council and the Government.

"We really hope they take those stories seriously and look through to find where they can be doing better,"Ms Paterson said.

Victoria University provost Wendy Larner said in a statement the university is supportive of the initiative, as long as privacy and natural justice issues are respected.

"We encourage any student who wants to report sexual violence, wherever it happens or has happened, to consider using the channels at the University to do so and to access the support the University provides," she said.

Welfare vice-president Beth Paterson spoke to 1 NEWS about the blog. Source: 1 NEWS



Police chastise Canterbury students who didn't intervene in bullying incident

Police today chastised students who opted not to intervene or call for help this week as a bullying incident was filmed at a Canterbury school.

Two students at Darfield High School are expected to appear before the school board today after school officials reviewed the video, which emerged yesterday on social media. In it, a boy lay on the ground as two others kicked and pummelled him.

"Police are particularly concerned that other students who saw what was happening, didn't intervene or get help from a teacher," Senior Sergeant Kelly Larsen said in a statement released to 1 NEWS. "Instead, they watched and took videos."

Darfield principal James Morris has described the incident as assault.

Police said they were alerted about the incident Tuesday afternoon, shortly after it happened.

"Bullying behaviour is not OK and has serious consequences," police said. "Rather than being a bystander, Police encourage anyone who witnesses an assault, or knows about other bullying behaviour to become someone who stands up against bullying, and does something about it.

"Bullying is wrong. We all have a responsibility to do something to stop it."

An outcome of the school board hearing is expected on Monday.

Darfield High School’s principal says police were notified shortly after the incident happened. Source: Supplied

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Police commend Good Samaritan as two kidnap attempts thwarted in Christchurch this morning

A man tried to abduct two women in back-to-back incidents in Christchurch this morning but failed after they fought back, with help from at least one bystander, according to police.

Authorities said they are speaking to a man over the incidents but are appealing to the public for more witnesses to come forward.

According to police, the first botched kidnapping occurred at 5.30am when he approached a woman at her car in the Jellie Park Recreation and Sports Centre on Ilam Road.

He then fled on a bicycle, pedalling through Jellie Park before approaching a jogger at the entrance of Ray Blank Park on Maidstone Road, police said.

The attacker fled again on bicycle after the woman fought him off, aided by a motorist who stopped to help her, according to police.

But this time he was followed by a motorist, who alerted police to a home on a nearby cul-de-sac that he was seen entering.

"We would really like to thank the member of the public who stopped to help the second victim," Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Worner said in a statement. "As the alleged offender is talking to Police we are confident the public has no reason to be concerned."

Anyone who saw either incident this morning and hasn't yet talked to police is asked to call 03 363 7400 to make a statement.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS

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John Armstrong: As Labour fast loses the plot, Sunday's moment of coalition unity was priceless

There’s no show without punch, and although Winston Peters did not say much, he said enough. Unlike the Prime Minister who was something of a disappointment.

Last Sunday’s carefully stage-managed display of unity by Jacinda Ardern and her deputy was not so much a case of fake news as one of fabricated news.

It was somehow befitting of the barmy politics emanating daily from the Government benches in Parliament that the coalition Government should half-celebrate its 12-month birthday having been in the job for just on 11 months.

A carefully-chosen audience was corralled on Auckland’s AUT campus to hear — or rather endure — Ardern taking close to half-an-hour to spell out her Government’s 12 priorities.

1 NEWS' Jessica Mutch and Benedict Collins give their opinions of the Acting Prime Minister who ran the country during Jacinda Ardern’s maternity leave.
Winston Peters. Source: 1 NEWS

Admittedly, it is difficult to inject excitement into a discussion of the virtues of intended alterations to the structure of the various Cabinet committees which meet weekly in the Beehive.

But one further priority would be finding a new speech writer for the Prime Minister before someone falls asleep and drowns in the verbiage. Or simply dies of boredom.

The said wordsmith's job is probably safe, however. The strict instruction from upon high would have been not to include the merest morsel of anything that those listening might find interesting — and which would detract from the whole purpose of the occasion, specifically the need for the Government to project an image as rock solid unified.

The political pantomime had one overriding objective — convincing an increasingly sceptical public that although Ardern and Peters might not always be on the same page, they are still capable of trading smiles on the same platform after 11 months of jostling one another.

While the Labour-New Zealand coalition has witnessed sporadic bouts of internal guerrilla warfare in recent times and principally on New Zealand First’s part, it is vastly over-dramatising things to suggest this so far occasional rebellion could become full-blown civil war.

So there was no chance of Peters going AWOL last Sunday. It would, however, have helped the coalition’s cause considerably had he uttered the immortal words "of course she's driving the car" during the earlier stages of the developing friction between the partners in Government. He was unwilling on Sunday to stretch the metaphor any further. But when it comes to back-seat driving or driving backwards, Peters is a master.

He has not taken on board any perceivable role as a back-room fixer for the coalition despite such a role having the capacity to alleviate some of the huge pressures weighing on Ardern’s shoulders.

He has instead exploited her inexperience as Labour’s leader and the fact that she spreads herself thin to bolster his party’s leverage within the coalition.

It is such game-play good that threatens the Government’s stability. It is not so much that the partners might clash over policy. As Ardern repeatedly notes, the coalition comprises three parties. There is always going to be disagreement over policy.

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships - John Armstrong

What matters is how such disputes are handled by the respective party leaderships; whether, to use the parlance, they act on the basis of good faith and no surprises.

Ardern’s response to suggestions of disunity is to pretend there is none when she is so questioned. That is not credible.

She has now sought to brush off those claims made by her opponents by creating a distraction through repackaging her party’s priorities and relaunching them as a "coalition blueprint" under the title of Our Plan.

It would not have taken Labour’s spin-doctors long to dream up that title. It is the exact same one as used by National during the John Key-Bill English years in their similar quest to turn New Zealand into Utopia.

The only difference between Labour’s and National’s respective efforts was that Key was dismissive of such "vision documents". They might be useful in listing goals. They rarely provide detail of the means to be adopted to reach those goals. The day-to-day pressures of political life inevitably result in the prime minister of the day focusing heavily on short-term political management. Concentrating on the long-term can always be postponed to another day.

National’s various versions of vision have accordingly sunk without trace. That experience would have been a factor in Simon Bridges’ acidic observation that there was nothing in the long list of platitudes, banalities and truisms in Ardern’s blueprint which he would find hard to swallow. He isn’t wrong.

The producers of Ardern’s massive missive may have feared the same fate awaits their product as afflicted National’s equally turgid equivalent, creation.

That hurts. But Bridges is making the pertinent point that Ardern’s claim that her plan amounts to a "shared vision" of the three parties in her governing arrangement is utterly meaningless.

All it says is that the three-party grouping stretches so far across the political system that National can be accommodated with room to spare.

That makes it hard to keep the whole show on the road at the best of times.

With ministers falling like nine-pins, bureaucrats thinking nothing of splashing out $1.5 million on a justice policy summit and private consultants growing fat on the tidy sums to be made from servicing the plethora of working parties and task forces doing the work that career public servants are arguably better left to do, Labour is fast losing the plot.

But never mind. Ardern and her colleagues got what they wanted. That was a minute or two of coalition unity at the top of the six o’clock news. Given Labour’s growing malaise, that’s priceless.

The Prime Minister gave details of the Government plan during a speech in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS


Auckland woman admits pimping out 14-year-old girl for sex

A 19-year-old woman has admitted pimping out a 14-year-old, accepting money from the client, and driving the girl to and from hotels around downtown Auckland.

Monoka Kelly appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning where she pleaded guilty to a representative charge of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly's charge covers four occasions in March and April last year.

According to the summary of facts, she set up a profile for the 14-year-old on a smartphone app used by prostitutes.

The 19-year-old solo mother took the girl to the hotels and then received payment from the client by way of internet bank transfers.

Some of the money went to the 14-year-old.

Kelly was due to go on trial next week but this morning's guilty plea means the trial is not necessary.

Justice Downs remanded her on bail but said there was every prospect she would face a lengthy prison term when she appeared for sentence in November.

rnz.co.nz

Justice Source: 1 NEWS