Calls for a Commission of Inquiry into Gloriavale, including Government failures

Calls for a Commission of Inquiry into Gloriavale, including Government failures

Opinion piece: Liz Gregory

I have a good memory. Three years passes just like yesterday. Three years ago we were standing outside the Town Hall in Christchurch with Gloriavale Leavers holding signs calling for an Inquiry into Gloriavale.

This week, Hon Carmel Sepuloni appeared on The Nation TV3, and was asked about the children at Gloriavale. She said, “I have no indication they are unsafe.” Gulp!

On Sunday Winston Peters responded by calling for a Commission of Inquiry into Gloriavale to investigate Gloriavale and Governmental failures. He sent a personal email to the Trust, and also released a Press release from New Zealand First.

“Today’s interview of the Deputy Prime Minister on The Nation was disturbing.
I was in Cabinet between 2017 and 2020 Gloriavale was never drawn to my attention.
To see the comfort being offered by the Regional Public Service Commissioner at the direction of the Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee, in the face of an Employment Court judgement holding they were profiting from the child labour of boys from 6 years of age, is downright wrong.
Gloriavale is not an organisation that has any redeeming features. It is 50 years of secrecy, making money off child labour and abusing of women physically and sexually from birth.
As Chief Judge Inglis said a girl’s fate was “assigned at birth, having been born female”.
That fate in my opinion, based on the judgement, is “servitude”; Criminal Slavery.
The Government must stop having chummy meetings. These are predators which Govt has a moral duty to step in now and stop what is blatant child abuse.
NZ First is calling for a full Commission of Inquiry as to how a man, described in 1996 by the Chief Justice Eichelbaum as a sexual predator, was allowed by government officials to enslave these young people, deliberately isolating them from the world, subjecting them to hard labour and sexual abuse.
Without, repeat without, any Government department taking responsibility for the vulnerable children.
The children need to be freed, NOW, and the government officials who have failed to protect them, held to account.”

I know that Winston has been following the Gloriavale saga for almost four years. In fact, he is one of the only politicians who we are aware of that has shown interest in what has been unfolding. (Credit also to Green MP Catherine Delahunty in 2015 who visited Gloriavale and was concerned about the girls education and stated her views publicly). We have tried sending letters to current MP’s and even some opposition MP’s and this issue just doesn’t seem to interest them.

Well it interests us.

If you would like to support the call for a Commission of Inquiry into Gloriavale and the Government failures, PLEASE email your local MP and any others you feel compelled to contact. Here’s a list of MP email details (click the name of the MP and look for the little blue speech bubble in the left column).

Also consider emailing your local candidates and asking them if they would support an Inquiry. Let us know who you hear back from. Head here to see which candidates are standing in your electorate and then do a google for their email addresses. 5 mins tops!

I’ve written an open letter to Hon Carmel Sepuloni, spurred on by some Gloriavale Leavers who rang to vent about what she said. Saying cults are “safe for children” is an oxymoron. There are many ways in which high-cost groups are unsafe for people – emotionally, psychologically, sexually, physically, spiritually etc.

It’s time to recognise we’re not dealing with a simple situation at Gloriavale. It’s extremely complex and it needs some specialists. I look at the list of the people on the Multi-Agency group overseeing Gloriavale, and I see Government employees and MP’s. They might be nice people, but I still believe they’re out of their depth. Where are the psychologists who have experience with cults, coercion and control?

Dr Wade Mullen has spent his life studying abusive organisations. He warns that,

“The last step in the cover up of dark secrets is convincing others to endorse the demonstrations as evidence of real change.”

“Here is the unfortunate truth: no amount of patience will produce change in an abusive community that isn’t willing to surrender its legitimacy and pursue the entire truth.”

Is Gloriavale willing to pursue the entire truth? Listening to them in court earlier this year, I think I know the answer…