The Dominion Post
Outrage at MP’s call to sterilise bad parents
THE ACT Party has shut down its outspoken MP David Garrett after he suggested sterilisation be made compulsory in extreme cases of bad parenting.
Mr Garrett has proposed parents who abuse their children be offered $5000 to get sterilised, with the parent keeping any cash left over after the operation.
The list MP raised the idea during a debate on family violence on the Kiwiblog website.
‘‘If – say – $5000 was paid to the likes of both parents of the Kahui twins if they chose to be sterilised, this would address many ... concerns,’’ Mr Garrett said.
‘‘Nothing compulsory, just an option. To take Kahui-King as examples, how much is it costing the state now to care for the children Maxyna [Macsyna] King has had removed from her?’’
Three-month-old South Auckland twins Chris and Cru Kahui were killed in June 2006. Their father, Chris Kahui, was acquitted of their murders in 2008.
Mr Kahui could not be reached last night. But his lawyer Lorraine Smith said Mr Garrett’s comments were ‘‘outrageous and a disgrace’’.
‘‘This man reminds me of something David Lange once said: he just opens his mouth and lets the wind blow his tongue around.
‘‘It is attention-seeking and attention-grabbing. Nothing else.’’
Sterilisation was panned by child abuse experts and by Prime Minister John Key yesterday, who described the proposal as ‘‘radical’’ and not on the Government’s agenda.
ACT leader Rodney Hide also refused to comment, saying Mr Garrett had expressed personal views, and not those of either the ACT Party or an ACT MP.
‘‘The statements . . . are his personal views and not official ACT Party policy. David Garrett made this clear when he issued his comments,’’ a spokesman for Mr Hide said.
The normally talkative Mr Garrett went to ground yesterday, refusing to return reporters’ calls. A spokeswoman said the MP had ‘‘nothing further to add’’.
But on his own website he posted further suggestions, including raising the option of compulsory sterilisation for those not fit to have children – and the possibility of ‘‘licences’’ to parent.
Mr Garrett said though some ‘‘fools’’ would argue that no-one should have their right to have children constrained, ‘‘I say that one abused child should move the onus on to the parents of that child to show that they are fit to have the care of more children, and allow the authorities to determine whether they can. It has become a well-worn cliche that one needs a licence to own a dog, but not to have children. Should this be the case?
‘‘Should it be possible to reach a point where a person – male or female – is made physically unable to reproduce further?’’
Tau Huirama, from anti-violence group Jigsaw, said he was shocked by the MP’s comments.
Garth McVicar, of the lobbygroup Sensible Sentencing Trust, said he totally agreed with sterilisation of child abusers.