Pay problem parents not to breed - mayor
By staff writers and AAP
October 30, 2009 12:51pm
AN outspoken Kiwi politician has proposed a new solution to the country's child abuse problem - pay the "appalling underclass" not to breed.
Michael Laws - who stirred up controversy by calling the late Tongan King a "bloated brown slug'' - has again hit the headlines.
"That there is a group within our society who give their children no hope nor opportunity from the moment that they are born," the regional mayor wrote on the New Zealand radio website where he broadcasts as a talkback DJ.
"That these ‘parents’ are known to authorities ... and yet the authorities can only intervene after children have been harmed."
Mr Laws goes on to write: "it would be far better for this appalling underclass to be offered financial inducements not to have children, given the toxic environment that they would provide for any child in their care."
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Sterilisation is cheaper and comes with a better guarantee.
Tristan of Sydney
The mayor believes "the consequent financial and social savings to our community would be considerable.
"There are too many people who should not have children."
Mr Laws said a report in New Zealand's Dominion-Post newspaper yesterday had incorrectly attributed the view to him that all those who got welfare should be sterilised.
Mr Laws wrote on the website "that most welfare beneficiaries are good parents" but it was the problem ones who should be offered money not to breed.
Yesterday's Dominion-Post newspaper quotes him as saying: "If we gave $10,000 to certain people and said 'we'll voluntarily sterilise you' then all of society would be better off,'' he told the .
"There'd be less dead children and less social problems.''
He was commenting on the latest death of a toddler, two-year-old Karl Perigo-Check, who was the son of a convicted murderer and gang member.
New Zealand is placed third among OECD nations for child deaths due to maltreatment, four spots ahead of Australia, according to UNICEF.
It is ranked fifth for both child beatings and sexual abuse, again several places ahead of its antipodean neighbour.
Mr Laws argued that "liberal methods'' of beating the problem had failed.
But his "solution'' has been branded "draconian'' and "totalitarian'' by the country's child health advocates who are calling for him to stand down as a city mayor.
"I just find it such a disgraceful attitude,'' Child Poverty Action Group director Janfrie Wakim said.
"It's hard to comprehend that an intelligent man who's leading a city is making such reprehensible suggestions.''
This is just the latest controversy for Mr Laws, who last month hit headlines for bullying primary school children.
The indigenous children had written to the mayor to express annoyance that he refused to make a subtle spelling change to the name of the North Island town, Wanganui, to make it historically correct.
But Laws, a fierce critic of the name change, took exception to the letters, replying: "There are so many deficiencies of both fact and logic in your letters that I barely know where to start''.
He told them they should sack their teacher for suggesting they write to him.