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News of Zealand

Your Monday News of Zealand: Call to Raise the Youth Justice Age and Gold at the Paralympics

Plus, the disappearing nuclear family and the Chiefs saga rolls on with a local politician saying she feels "very sorry" for "tempted" players.

Image by Michael Coughlan via Flickr

We Need To Stop Treating 17-Year-Olds As Adults In The Justice System

They're not able to vote, but 17-year-olds in New Zealand are tried as adults in the criminal justice system. That's been called an "international embarrassment" by the country's Children's Commissioner, and former principal youth court judge, Andrew Becroft. As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, New Zealand should've already raised the age at which offenders are treated as adults to 18 years old.

"We are just entirely out of step and we just can't go on simply ignoring it year after year," Becroft told RNZ. "It's just unacceptable and it represents really an enduring stain on our otherwise good justice record."


In an open letter to Prime Minister John Key, 33 organisations that work with young people, including Salvation Army, Youthline, and the Brainwave Trust, are calling for the youth court age to be raised to catch New Zealand up with Australia. "Last week Queensland became the last Australian state to extend the youth justice system to include 17-year-olds. It's time for us to do the same. The evidence is crystal clear."

Western Bay of Plenty District councillor Margaret Murray-Benge says she feels "very sorry" for the Chiefs. Image via Western Bay Council

Even After the Chiefs Stripper Inquiry, Public Figures Still Feel the Need to Weigh in

Just when we thought the Chiefs stripper scandal was exhausted, public figures continue to weigh in. To recap: stripper Scarlette publicly accused the Chiefs of abusing her when she performed at their end-of-season celebrations in August. Last week, Rugby New Zealand announced the long-awaited findings of an inquiry into the incident, clearing the players of any wrongdoing. The internal investigation was widely criticised for its perceived lack of independence. Rugby NZ boss Steve Tew has admitted his organisation has a "culture problem" and says they will work with sexual violence survivor advocate Louise Nicholas and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue to address it.

Now a Bay of Plenty politician has posted a message on Facebook saying she "feels very sorry" for the players and that they were unfairly tempted by Scarlette. Western Bay of Plenty District councillor Margaret Murray-Benge said Scarlette should never have accepted the job. "Too much drinking and a naked body. Why on earth did the stripper accept the invitation in the first place?"


The comments reflect the response from Chiefs sponsor Margaret Comer when the scandal first broke. "If a woman takes her clothes off and walks around in a group of men, what are we supposed to do if one of them tries to touch her." Comer later apologised for her comments.

Scarlette has said she doesn't want a police investigation into the matter and just wants to be left alone and her privacy respected.

Sophie Pascoe has more Paralympian gold to add to this one she won in London. Image via Paralympics NZ

Paralympian Sophie Pascoe Sets World Record To Win Her Second Gold Medal In The Pool At Rio

New Zealand swimming champion Sophie Pascoe has won a gold medal in the 200 metre individual medley, taking to her medal haul at Rio to three in three days. Pascoe dominated the field winning in a time of 2:24:90 and beating her own world record set in London 2012.

The 23-year-old from Christchurch is on track to become New Zealand's most successful Paralympian of all time. She already has 13 medals and looks set to add more with a couple of events to come—the 100 metre butterfly on Tuesday and the 100 metre freestyle on Wednesday. Pascoe is ranked top in the world in both disciplines.

Image by Mike Licht via Flickr

The Nuclear Family Is Looking Like A Quaint Thing Of The Past

A new study out of Dunedin has found something that we've long known—families are changing. The whole idea of a nuclear family with mum, dad and two-point-five kids is starting to look pretty quaint. Only a quarter of 15-year-olds in the study lived with both their biological parents, and just six percent had lived their whole lives in households made up of only their mother, father and siblings.

The figures come from Growing Up In New Zealand, a world-renowned longitudinal study tracking the development of about 7000 children from before birth until they are young adults. The teenagers surveyed in this research were all children of young mums.


"This research just really debunks the idea of a nuclear family living in a nice little house with a white picket fence," lead researcher Dr Judith Sligo told Stuff. "There is a huge diversity of family arrangements."

Image by Deborah Fitchett via Flickr

A Letter Addressed With Rambling Flattery Finds Its Destination

The Gisborne Postal Service proved there's no need for a postcode when you can slap some flattering description and vague geography on an envelope. The Gisborne Herald reports Tiniroto resident Scott O'Brien could not believe his eyes when he found a letter in his mailbox addressed: "Scott, from Scotland… aged about 60/70??… corner of Tiniroto Road (almost). By a bridge. Has a Japanese wife—who may be older but looks about 20… also has a daughter, about 3. Loves history… Good sense of humour… tells a good tale… Rural delivery area, sort of south east of Gisborne."

The letter was sent by George MacLachlan who delivers phonebooks to the area. The two had struck up a conversation at the gate. They are planning to meet up again.

And in case you missed it, here's some of what's been going on at VICE New Zealand

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We Rated the Sexiness of Politicians' Sexts So You Don't Have To

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My Champagne Lunch With The 'Real Housewives Of Auckland'

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Just to Be Clear, Saying You're On the Pill Does Not Mean Consent

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Chasing Great, But The Corporate Dollar Too: The Richie Mccaw Story

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It's Official: New Zealand House Prices Have Blown Up Faster Than Anywhere in the World

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Space to Dream Is the First Major Australasian Exhibition of Contemporary South American Art

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