The problem with Cindy Kiro’s politics


In 2006, at the height of the anti-smacking bill debate, Dr Kiro along with Sue Bradford, EPOCH and Barnardos misrepresented the child abuse statistics from both NZ and Sweden. They said ‘Around one child a month dies at the hands of a parent or caregiver in New Zealand. In Sweden, the average annual deaths attributable to child abuse for the past 30 years or so has been less than one every four years.’ In fact the actual rate of child abuse deaths in Sweden had averaged around seven every year and has sometimes been as high as twelve, according to recent comments by Sweden’s public health minister.

2006Big Brother society

“I am calling for the creation of a plan for every child so that no one falls through the gaps. These plans would mean that educational, health and safety information would be shared and assessed in a consistent way. A key benefit of the integrated framework is that all professionals will be required in their assessments to take account of the child’s life in the context of the families and communities in which they live. A consistent finding of investigations of child homicides by my Office is the need for interagency cooperation and communication to ensure the safety of children and young people engaged with multiple agencies.”


The Children’s Commissioner has knowingly misled the public on child abuse statistics, but that it is not first time that she has done so. In a Sunday Star Times article last year, Dr Cindy Kiro said that 88 children were killed in a five year period. These were repeated in a Dominion Post article this year on Dr Kiro. But blogger Lindsay Mitchell has obtained an admission from Dr Kiro under the Official Information Act that the figures are inaccurate, and that the real figure was 35. “Despite the gross inaccuracy of the figures, Dr Kiro allowed them to be republished in an interview a year after the first incorrect report and despite being aware of the misrepresentation,”

2008 – Government Rebukes Extremist Comments of Children’s Commissioner

Family First NZ is welcoming comments by the government today that they do not support the outrageous and out-of-touch comments of the Children’s Commissioner in relation to tagging and graffiti.In response to questioning in parliament today, the Minister for Social Development distanced the government from statements made by the Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro in support of the rights of children and tagging.

Comments by Dr Kiro to the Select Committee considering the anti-tagging bill included:

  • for some people, graffiti and tagging are seen as legitimate art forms. There is history and social commentary behind these art forms….

  • interestingly, these public spaces are often environments that children and young people are alienated from…

  • solutions need to appropriately balance the rights of property owners and the rights of children and young people …

2008 – Children’s Commissioner Insults Generations of Parents and Grandparents

The Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro has attempted to discredit the huge response to the two petitions asking for a Referendum on child abuse and the anti-smacking law by saying that previous generations of parents didn’t parent as positively and were less qualified in knowing how to raise their children than parents of today.

“We know more about parenting and child health and development now than we did in our parents’, grandparents’ and great grandparents’ times.” – Cindy Kiro

Dr Kiro has also labelled the hundreds of thousands who have signed the petitions as gullible and misguided, and simply puppets to a political agenda. Once again, this is highly insulting to the more than 300,000 New Zealanders who care about good parenting and have thoughtfully signed the petitions.


2008 – 8 overseas trips in 12 months and a 50% staff turnover

Her office has failed to produce it annual report to Parliament on child Poverty in New Zealand and its Compliance report on the rights of the Child for the UN. The Children’s Commissioner’s Office has had a 50% staff turnover in the last year, and has failed to deliver two major reports.  But  did manage to attend eight overseas conferences in 12 months.

2009 – Rankin slams Children’s Commissioner

An angry Christine Rankin slammed Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro as a “waste of space” at a rally protesting the country’s dismal child abuse record. Rankin, chief executive of For the Sake of Our Children Trust, told about 500 marchers in Auckland’s Queen St: “We want a children’s commissioner who is not a waste of space, someone with courage who will make a difference.” But Kiro, who refused an invitation to yesterday’s march, hit back labelling Rankin’s group and the Sensible Sentencing Trust as “the hang-’em high brigade”. Kiro said the marchers in the second of what organisers hope will be a national series “believe the solution is to lock ’em up and throw away the key.

2008 – Lindsay Mitchell’s blog – Cindy Kiro caught out

So the Commissioner is confirming “the figures are inaccurate” but still not providing a source. In fact, SHE was the source.

….We now have statistics in the public domain that are grossly inaccurate. That a second journalist used them proves people will access the information and treat it as official and accurate. The Children’s Commissioner knows they are inaccurate and has a responsibility to set the record straight. That she has failed to do so amounts to a cover-up of her mistake – accidental or otherwise.

…According to the New Zealand Herald Cindy Kiro’s contract is up for renewal this year. What has she achieved?
1/ a 28 percent overspend of her budget in 2007/08
2/ a reputation for spending too much time overseas
3/ being instrumental in making the highly unpopular anti-smacking legislation a reality
4/ and now a serious dent in her credibility regarding statistical reliability and objective analysis

And more recently

2018 – Lindsay Mitchell’s blog – More fact checking on Cindy Kiro

and previously, during the height of the smacking debate

2006 – And *that* interview on Campbell Live in 2006  

Cindy Kiro and Robert E. Lazerele were interviewed in the first slot of Campbell Live.

John: “Cindy, if we’re talking about warning a child, giving them time out and then as a last resort giving them a light smack, what is wrong with that?”

Cindy: “well I think umm… if you know what a light smack is probably nothing much, but thats not the point thats being made here; and first of all I’d just like to challenge Dr Larzelere.”

What followed on from this was criticism about writing an article for what used to be called the Biblical Institute of Los Angeles, in which he “advocated a balanced spiritual view of spanking.
Cindy: “…And, one of the conditions actually of having that publication published was actually that you had to have a position that was consistent with an evangelical position.”

John: “specifically and explicitly, what is your criticism of Dr Larzelere here?”

Cindy: “that basically he’s a climate change skeptic in child discipline.”

John to Dr Larzelere: “are you a fundamentalist Christian?”
Dr Larzelere: “no,”

John: “are you a Christian conservative?”

Dr Larzelere: “I am, I am a person of faith. but if I were an atheist I would still stand by every conclusion my research has found.”

Cindy: “John, the point that I’m trying to make is this, to present yourself as a world expert who’s got scientific views on this , is I think misleading.”

John: “What I’m confused about is that if the science is all on your side, if the only people who disagree with you are actually people you’re trying to characterize as actually Christians in the fringe why haven’t you managed to take the public with you in this argument.

Cindy: “It takes a long time to understand what this means and we’ve been pushed into a position of trying to explain and educate the public very quickly with a lot of misinformation going around.”

John: “and vilify your opponents it seems like to me tonight.”


John: “is smacking; spanking of any description ever ok?”

Cindy: “I think not”

Dr Larzelere: “I think that to defend the type of positive discipline the Dr Kiro is for as well parents need effective disciplinary enforcement, and if milder ones are better but some kids push the limits where non abusive smacking is necessary.”

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