RNZ host clashes with Anne Tolley for her response to state abuse inquiry video


The Minister for Social Development Anne Tolley says the system has worked for claimants with most of the recommendations of Judge Henwood being implemented. She says the feedback she has had has been positive and there is no need for an independent inquiry. She says the claimants have suffered enough.

Tension boiled over between a Government minister and RNZ host as she was forced to justify why no universal apology has been issued to victims of state abuse.

The Minister for Social Development faced 16 minutes of radio flames for refusing to launch an independent inquiry or make an apology for her department's historic acts of child sex abuse.

The major clash saw RNZ journalist Kim Hill state that "we will never know the extent of the abuse" because of Minister Anne Tolley's decision not to establish an independent inquiry to investigate abuse in state care.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley

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"We don't need an inquiry now. What we need is their claims recognised and state to take responsibility for that," Tolley said.

The Minister's justification for her decision was that victims she had spoken to wanted to move on with their lives and deal with the issue in private. A report from Judge Carolyn Henwood​, who headed a panel hearing evidence about claims of state abuse, advised that an independent inquiry – separate from MSD – be established.

Hill repeatedly asked Tolley how many victims she had talked to.

"People approach me all the time," Tolley said. 

"How many people, who have been abused in state agencies, have you spoken to?" Hill asked, again.

RNZ journalist Kim Hill repeatedly asked Anne Tolley how many victims she had talked to.

RNZ journalist Kim Hill repeatedly asked Anne Tolley how many victims she had talked to.

"I don't count. Look Kim, I don't keep count of them," Tolley responded.

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Tolley stuck to her original decision that no apology was needed because abuse against mentally ill patients and children in state care wasn't systemic, she said.

"Some of the claimants that have actually made claims and had claims settled have said that in some cases they experienced very good care," Tolley said.

"You mean, when they weren't being raped or abused?" Hill asked.

"You mean, they had bad times and good times and you're concentrating on the good times," Hill continued. The Minister disagreed.

The Morning Report interview sparked a mix of reaction online from political commentators and RNZ listeners.

Some listeners, however, were not amused as Hill continued to demand answers from the Minister, taking the interview significantly over time.

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 - Stuff


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