Does this make Paula the Minister of Sexual Violence – or should we find another title?

There’s the agricultural sector, and the tourism sector, and the energy sector …

And dozens of other sectors.

They tend to get their own Ministers, such as the Minister of Agriculture (later expanded to Minister of Primary Industries), Minister of Tourism, Minister of Energy and Resources.

And so on.

Except that Steven Joyce came along and became the Minister of Most Things, which wiped out one or two jobs.

But Alf obviously has not been paying attention while the word “sector” has been applied willy-nilly.

Hence he was surprised to learn (here) that –

Senior minister Paula Bennett has taken over ministerial responsibility for the sexual violence sector.

The responsibility has previously been split between several government ministers.

Actually, if more than two ministers were involved, the responsibility was split “among” them, not “between” them.

But that’s to quibble with the media’s feeble grasp of good English.

What matters here is that outfits like Wellington Rape Crisis have welcomed the move, which just helps remind us what a great governmetn we have got.

Agency manager Natalie Gousmett said having one minister accountable for the sector was something they had been asking for.

“It is a great relief to see some concrete action being taken by Government to support a sector that is falling to its knees because of lack of sustainable and consistent funding.”

But maybe she hasn’t heard about the austerity thing, because she hoped Bennett would be able to address the “chronic underfunding” of services:

We provide extremely effective and efficient services that benefit the whole community. It would be a tragedy if that service were no longer available to people in the Wellington region.

”We know that sexual violence costs the Government billions, so improved support to specialist services provides savings for everyone.”

More money? Fat chance.

But even more fascinating is this bit of the story –

Gousmett said she would also like to see a dedicated government agency to oversee and support the sexual violence sector.

Rapists, indecent assaulters, paedophiles and so on obviously are all part of this sector. Without them, after all, there wouldn’t be one.

Whether they should have their activities overseen and supported by a government agency as Gousmett proposes is the big question.

Overseeing would amount to voyeurism.

And supporting would be aiding and abetting.

Let’s go back to Ms Gousmett and suggest she re-express herself.

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