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Ban on men sitting next to children

Filed under: General — triassic @ 2:02 pm Tue 29th November 2005

Shame on Air NZ

Air NZ have shamed themselves with to days revelation in the NZ Herald that they have a policy of insisting that only a female may sit next to a unaccompanied child in flight.

This is outrageous, not only because it reinforces one gender as “bad” or “not to be trusted” but it goes against the facts themselves as reported by CYFS. Women abuse children at twice the rate of men (CYFS statistics).

Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro has stated “children’s safety is paramount and she commends the airline for putting thought into how it can keep children safe.”

Cindy’s ideology would have all Polynesians under a curfew after dark. All Muslims would not be able to travel in public unless they were in swim suits, every teenager could only drive a moped, and every politician would be required to be permanently wired to a polygraph.

A company concerned with the welfare of all its clients would have delivered a policy whereby people sitting next to the child were told that if there is a need for the child to go to the toilet then only the air hostess can take them. When this is to be directed at both genders it is not discriminatory.
But why think about upsetting males when they are such easy targets. Do you think this would have been permitted had the gender concerned been female?

My suggestion is to ring the EPMU on 04 576-1181 Speak to national secretary Andrew Little and insist that action is taken by the union to force a change in this policy and to ensure that no other policies are in place that slur a gender without just cause.

18 Responses to “Ban on men sitting next to children”

  1. MarkL says:

    check out kiwiblog.co.nz for some interesting comments on this.

  2. Mark Bogan says:

    For the first four month of a penguins’ life, the father does not eat, and stands by it’s chick to provide shelter and protection.

  3. rejected says:

    The solution to all the airlines problems! Hire lesbian, feminist, psychologist air hostesses to perform risk analysis of all male single passengers.
    These air hostesses could interview unaccompanied children what a coup that would be. Innocent children boarding the plane, but by the end of the flight they would have dicovered repressed memories of child abuse somewhere in their past

  4. MarkL says:

    also check out:
    Qantas & Air New Zealand — Guilty By Association

    ‘We can never fix one evil with another evil. We cannot defend one freedom by trampling on the very freedoms we cherish. By all means (in fact it is your duty to) protect the rights of our precious children but don’t label me a paedophile simply because I’m a male.’

    fantastic stuff from the author!!

    somehow we must use these examples as a springboard to further our cause. surely

  5. JohnP says:

    This issue has hit the news big-time!

    There was a Press Release from the Men’s Coalition:

    Fathers call on Kiro to resign

    “Fathers’ groups are demanding the resignation of Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro”, Kerry Bevin spokesperson, for the Men’s Coalition said today, following Kiro’s praise of Air New Zealand’s and Qantas’s policies of not allowing men to sit next to unaccompanied children. He also called for a public apology from the airlines in question.

    “Kiro is telling our children that men are dangerous to children, when in actual fact both women and men abuse children.”

    “She is teaching our children that irrational fear and hysterical hatred of one half of the population is acceptable.”

    “Kiro is not fit to be the Children’s Commissioner and must resign immediately”, concluded Kerry.

    Airlines ban men from sitting next to children

    Comments from National Party political correctness eradicator Wayne Mapp:

    “I think this is a gross over-reaction by the airlines. What do they think men are going to do that women won’t? It is the same as saying men shouldn’t sit beside children on a bus” .

    and Green MP Keith Locke:

    “I will be writing to the Human Rights Commission asking them to intervene to bring the two airlines to their senses,” he said.
    The airline needed to recognise that “men are people too”.

    “It is prejudicial to presume that men can’t be trusted to have contact with children unless they are related to them or are specially trained,” Mr Locke said.

    The ban went against progress that had been made in society where men now played a greater role in rearing their children — househusbands were more common — and engaging in play centre and school activities.

    The story spread to Australia:
    Airlines’ children policy ‘insane’

    Dunedin-based clinical psychologist Nigel Latta, who has 15 years experience with sex offenders and victims, told NZPA he disagreed entirely with the policy.

    “I think it’s completely insane. It’s a crowded plane. For a start you’ve got to have someone who’s sexually interested in children who just happens by chance to get sat next to an unaccompanied child who then in a small, crowded airplane is going to molest a kid on a flight.

    “It’s insane. It’s political correctness and cautiousness gone made.”

    Latta said the policy was sending an “awful” message to society that “all men are pariahs”.

    Airlines’ no men near children policy slammed

    Celia Lashlie, author of He’ll Be okay: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men, and the Good Man Project, said she had “never heard so much nonsense in my life” as the Qantas and Air New Zealand policy.

    “There is enough of this mythology in New Zealand anyway. We’re operating on this idea that every man is a potential paedophile.”

    Ms Lashlie, who previously had 15 years working in New Zealand’s prison service, said it was entirely appropriate for men, and women, to speak to children on planes.

    “The thing I’m sad about is I watch in this current climate where so many boys are living away from their fathers, boys are thirsty for maleness.”

    A chat with “some bloke — a good man ” could be a valuable experience for either boys or girls, she said.

    “They’re painting the picture that planes are full of potential paedophiles.

    “My picture is that aeroplanes are full of good men moving up and down the country and there is a wonderful opportunity there,” she said.

    “New Zealand as a culture is starting to hide behind political correctness in order not to have to demonstrate moral courage and integrity.”

    Critics of airlines’ seating policy grow

    Stratford Primary School principal Kelvin Squire said the chronic shortage of male teachers could be blamed on a society that automatically questioned the motives of men who wanted to teach children.

    “Our children deserve, require, and in fact demand a better gender balance in their lives,” he told National Radio today.

    “The sad reality is that decisions such as that just made by Air New Zealand and Qantas is driving men further away.”

    Acting Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres said that the airlines could be in breach of the Human Rights Act for unlawful discrimination.

    Man protests airlines’ decision up a tree

    Air New Zealand and Qantas today showed no sign of backing down on the controversial policy, which has been criticised by politicians, lobby groups and the public.

    Motueka man Kevin Gill camped on top of the 10m-high Otterson gum tree stump in Queen St, Richmond, last night in a bid to reverse the “discriminatory” policy…

    “I’m prepared to stay up here as long as it akes.”
    Men were being treated as demons because of the minority who abused children, he said.

    “What’s going to be next. Are men not going to be allowed to sit next to boys on buses, trains and sports venues. It could just be the edge of the wedge.”

    Human rights inquiry into airline policy

    A ban by airlines on men sitting next to unaccompanied children will be the subject of a dispute resolution process by the Human Rights Commission, after it received four separate complaints in the past 24 hours…

    Michael Irwin, a former school principal and now senior lecturer at Massey University’s College of Education, says the policy adopted by Air New Zealand and Qantas sent a “misleading message” that men were uncaring when it came to young children.

    “It’s saying to society that it’s not men’s role to be involved with their children or any children and that’s ridiculous,” he said.

    Mr Irwin said such policies could cause men to feel alienated from schools, childcare centres and nursing, and were also harmful to the wider society, which would miss out on male involvement.

    “If a child falls down and hurts themselves. . . is a man supposed to stand around until a woman can be found to help?

    “I believe it sends a signal to children: ‘don’t trust a man’.”

    The director of the Centre for Public Policy at Massey University, Stuart Birks, said the ban was “a clear case of discrimination with no obvious rational basis”.

    It was as “pointless and ridiculous” as discriminating against passengers on grounds of race, religious belief, or appearance, he said.

    “Would they have a policy of not seating children next to Maori passengers, or skinheads or Muslims? or only male Maori, skinheads and Muslims?”

    The story featured on TV One Close Up – for a while you can watch a video clip of it here: seat swapping

    Susan Wood read out part of an e-mail by Darryl Ward:

    “Several months ago, I was sitting on the train on the way home from work. A schoolgirl had been bullied by another girl, and was now sitting in the stairwell crying.

    As the father of two daughters, I instinctively wanted to go and comfort her and make sure that she was alright. Looking around the carriage, I could see that many other men, who were obviously fathers, wanted to do the same.

    However we knew we could not publicly follow our natural instinct that we had as fathers to protect children.

    Much like those few remaining male primary school teachers who are afraid to close their classroom doors, we knew we couldn’t go near her, because of the reprehensible belief of a few that men in general are a danger to children”.

    Jim Bagnall has been protesting at Auckland airport with the Union of Fathers bus, but was moved on today with threats of trespass and having his vehicle towed. He says:

    “If you were black in Alabama in the 1960s you had to go to the back of the bus.

    In 2005 if you’re a male sitting next to an unaccompanied child you have to go to the back of the plane”.

  6. domviol says:

    Some more comments

    Although suspicions may by more rife in today’s society, Detective Jason Perry, family violence co-ordinator, said the majority of complaints about suspected child abuse were genuine.

    “We do receive some vexatious complaints but the majority of them are genuine,” he said. “We investigate those and on the basis of evidence they’re prosecuted.”

    But James Gatenby, practice leader at Child Youth and Family in Tauranga, said fathers had lost confidence and understanding about the role they needed to play in their children’s lives because of paranoia about accusations of child abuse that have swept through society.

    “There’s far more awareness now about fathers and stepfathers, about how they interact with their children or stepchildren in public. There is a conscious awareness that there are eyes on them and they can’t express themselves as freely as they would possibly like to.”

    He said that, as a result, fathers were denying their roles and responsibilities and it would take a lot of work to regain lost ground. “When we look into notifications that we receive, dads say ‘well we’re going to be hands off from now and leave the certain aspects of parenting, such as bathing or toileting to the mothers and grandmothers’.

    “I think it takes lot of work to really regain their confidence. The message we are giving to fathers is that it’s really important that they are taking those roles on, like being affectionate and being comfortable about showing your emotions towards your children, and doing things like bathing your daughters and taking them to the toilet,” Mr Gatenby said.

    “In the work we do do there is a gap where children don’t have positive role models in their lives, particularly male role models.”

    Bad memories of an incident similar to Mr Worsley’s have resurfaced for Bethlehem fire officer Philip Price over the past few days.

    “It was an experience I will never forget. The fact that the airline regards men in this way is totally unacceptable, discriminatory and a case of extreme political correctness,” he said.

    Mr Price was on an Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch on a winter trip in 2002, seated across the aisle from his wife and two children, aged 14 and 16. Just before take off he was asked by a flight attendant to swap places with his wife because he was sitting next to two unaccompanied children.

    “I was absolutely stunned and speechless. I complied without making a fuss but only to avoid embarrassing my wife and, in particular, my two children.

    “My wife was so angry and stunned because she felt for me. What offended and hurt me most was the perception by Air New Zealand that because I was a man I was a risk to young children and this was demonstrated quite publicly after all the passengers had been seated.”

    He urged the airline to review its procedure for seating passengers to avoid the humiliation he went through.

    “If the airline is concerned then they need to deal with it so passengers are never put in that situation. They need to deal with it on boarding. I don’t think I’d move so easily next time, unless there was an issue of aircraft safety. No-one wants to make a fuss though.”

    When the Bay of Plenty Times asked Mr Price whether he would mind a male sitting next to his own child on a plane he said: “The thought never even entered my mind. I have never heard of a child molestation on a plane before. You need to have a certain amount of faith in society.”

    Hans Laven, a Tauranga clinical psychologist said that policies trod on risky ground, initiating a dangerous spiral of discrimination in society.

    “It’s very dangerous to start discriminating against a class of people on the basis of perceived characteristics of a few. That’s why we have laws against it. A policy like that provides children with an image that men are to be feared and have no value.”

    I don’t see how that can help.

    “How will it benefit a child to be prevented from an equal opportunity of sharing some communication with a male, which is an important part of childrens’ development.”

    Mr Laven has experience working with child molesters and says the chances of a child being molested on a plane were so remote.

    “There is a risk, possibly as great or greater than a man molesting a child on an aeroplane, of a woman on a plane suffering from post-natal depression or a personality disorder that may lead her to feel an urge to harm a child, which unfortunately also occurs.”

    But Dr Neville Robertson, a community psychologist at the University of Waikato thinks that there are no grounds for discrimination claims over the policy.

    “It has been clumsily handled. But this is being portrayed as an infringement of men’s rights and I would have to ask that if I’m allocated seat 1F instead of 4E – how has that infringed my rights?

    “Discrimination means that you deny someone a right and the right in this case is a comfortable seat on the plane – and that’s what they [men] will get. I think reaction to this is disproportionate. People take it personally – it’s not a personal attack at all.”

  7. MarkL says:

    Is this incident a wedge that we can use to pry open some debate on the gender issues in nz? I hope so. It sounds like people from all walks in life are saying enough is enough. Keep the blowtorch on this one.

  8. JohnP says:

    Protest! – Air New Zealand

    * Auckland
    * meet outside District Court
    * Albert St
    * Monday 5th December
    * 12.00 Midday

  9. Moose says:

    This incident provides a small window of a great opportunity to expose this sort of crap we as Men have to put up with in society. I implore everyone to jump at the chance to make what we can of it.

    It’s a shame about the short notice for the protest ! But I will do everything I can to be there.

  10. Larry says:

    The hurtful, vile policy of Air New Zealand and Qantas banning men from sitting next to unaccompanied children must be exposed and condemned as the hideous, dehumanizing sexism that it is. While such a policy may “fly” in Australia and New Zealand (and, I earnestly hope that it will not continue to do so), it is repugnant to egalitarian principles and to any notion of gender equity. Surely, if such a policy were implemented in the United States, it would violate federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Rosa Parks, who recently passed away, became an American hero precisely because she refused to submit to a policy dictating where she should sit on a bus because of her race. Air New Zealand and Qantas (as well as Children’s Commissioner Dr. Cindy Kiro, who reportedly supports that policy) believe, however, that gender should dictate where passengers are allowed to sit on planes, treating male passengers like pariahs. The civilized world must reject and denounce such sexism as emphatically as it has rejected and denounced racism. Unless and until Air New Zealand and Qantas abandon that hurtful, egregiously sexist policy — with an apology, they do not deserve the patronage of men.

  11. zubbazubba says:

    Has nobody ever taken AirNZ to court about this ?

  12. Hadi Akbari says:

    Hi guys, my wife had a sexual abuse allegation made against her back in 1995 by the woman who has had her son all this time, its just a shame the police were never involved like my wife wanted as this allegation has ruied her life, now her son is 13yrs he deserves to know why his poor innocent mother hasnt been allowed to see him all these years, it is unbelievable how easy it is to make an allegation against someone like that and get away with it, there might be so many sex offenders out there but that doesnt mean to say we are all like that, you would have to be insane to touch young children, i know of a lot of fathers who love their children more than anything in the world and i am one of them

  13. John Kimble says:

    Hi I’m not from NZ but decided to do some digging on the Qantas / Air NZ story as we have the same problem in the uk with British Airways. (unfortunately it never got the same coverage as Qantas / AIR NZ, though it does make it into certain mational newspapers every now and again). Anyway there is a pretty big update for the Air new Zealand case:

    I emailed Human Rights Review Tribunal to ask if there was any verdict on the complaint by Dr Wayne Mapp against Qantas and Air New Zealand. I received a reply from Maria Galvin to say “No decision was given by the Human Rights Review Tribunals as the claim was withdrawn by Dr Mapp on 22/1/08”.

    I’ve no idea why Dr Mapp has done this and there is no mention of this news in the media (perhaps this story would be worthy of a new article so everyone can see it? – feel free to cut and paste)

    Mr Mapp’s email address is:

    wayne.mapp@parliament.govt.nz

    I shall be asking him why he has done this and suggest others do the same.

  14. John Kimble says:

    ok another update – just received an email from the governemtn stating that the “claim was ‘withdrawn as being settled’ on 22 January 2008. ”

    No idea what this means, though sounds more promising than the 1st email I got, Does anyone else have any information please?

  15. Captain MRA says:

    British Airways have the same sexist policy. It makes me want to throw up that I am judged to be a paedophile just because of my gender. Captain MRA, UK Men’s rights activist for 11 years.

  16. dad4justice says:

    They speak Maori on feminist Air New Zealand but a man
    can’t sit next to children . What a MAD country run by
    sexist criminals !!!

  17. ford says:

    its utter bullshit alright

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