RNZ host clashes with Anne Tolley for her response to state abuse inquiry
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.
"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.
"I don't count. Look Kim, I don't keep count of them," Tolley responded.
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.
Battered welfare min Anne Tolley totters out of @radionz. Ignore key findings of major child abuse report? Take that! says Kim Hill. Wow.— Simon Wilson (@simonbwilson) November 29, 2016
In the many years of interviews I've heard with Anne Tolley I've never witnessed someone get under her skin as much as Kim Hill did just now— Jo Moir (@jo_moir) November 29, 2016
Some listeners, however, were not amused as Hill continued to demand answers from the Minister, taking the interview significantly over time.
Pls cut them off @NZMorningReport - nobody wants to hear Kim Hill & Anne Tolley point scoring against each other for 10mins/— Pete Robson (@Pete_Robson) November 29, 2016
Anne Tolley: "Sure, I'll take the 7:28am slot. They'll need to go to the news at 7:30. What's the worst that can happen?"— David Ritchie (@dritchie) November 29, 2016
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