50 attend rally to end violence

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Central Otago women Jenny Cosgriff and Andrea Allison say they are glad to have ‘‘given our region a voice’’ at the Stand Up NZ Day rally at the Alexandra District Courthouse on Monday.
Mrs Cosgriff, of Alexandra, and Mrs Allison, of Cromwell, co-ordinated the Alexandra rally as part of the national Stand Up NZ Day campaign organised by the Sensible Sentencing Trust. The campaign seeks an end to the use of plea bargaining and an end to violence against children.
The national rallies were held on the day the killers of 3-yearold Moko Rangitoheriri were sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua. Tania Shailer (26) and David William Haerewa (43) each received a sentence of 17 years’ jail, with a minimum nonparole period of nine years, for the manslaughter and ill treatment of Moko. They were originally charged with murder, but the charge was downgraded to manslaughter in exchange for pleading guilty.
Mrs Allison said she and Mrs Cosgriff organised the Alexandra rally because they wanted Central Otago to be represented in the national event. They were pleased with the turnout in Alexandra — about 50 adults and children attended the rally.
Mrs Cosgriff said it was important to stand up and stop ignoring child abuse and accepting excuses for it.
‘‘In New Zealand we have a problem [with child abuse] and we need to acknowledge it . . . Together we can and will be changing the [plea bargaining] legislation, but that alone won’t stop child abuse. Our children are the next generation of parents. We need you to continue to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’.We need to stay committed and we need to be loud and clear that we will not be tolerating child abuse in our country. We demand justice for Moko.’’