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Little: Make consent education compulsory

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/03/2017 Karen Sweeney
Andrew Little © Phil Walter/Getty Images Andrew Little

Consent should be a compulsory part of sex education in schools, Labour says.

Leader Andrew Little says sex education is about more than biology and social interactions, including emphasis on "no means no" should be part of curriculums in all schools.

But associate education minister Nikki Kaye says consent is already in the guidelines for compulsory sex education and strengthening the requirements any further would require legislation changes.

Hundreds of students from three Wellington schools rallied at parliament on Monday carrying placards with slogans "sex without consent is rape" and "rape is a crime not a culture".

The protest was in response to lewd online posts by Wellington College boys including "f*** women" and "If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true Wc [Wellington College] boy".

Days later four year nine boys from St Patrick's College Silverstream were suspended after allegedly sexually harassing two female staff.

Mr Little said on Tuesday that all men have to take responsibility for telling others that behaviour is not ok.

"It was really encouraging to see yesterday that expression of that concern," he said.

"We want to make sure that sex education in our schools is relevant and it's not just about biology it is about the social responsibilities that go with interacting with each other, and we will have a good look at what is happening now and what we can do to improve it."

Ms Kaye said the government had gone "as strong as you can" in including consent in the guidelines for the sex education curriculum.

"To go that step further and to force schools, I think you'd have to change the law to do that and we have no plans for that," she said.

"We need to have a culture shift and I think that is not just about schools, it's not putting everything on schools it's also about parents and it's about young people taking responsibility."

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei backs changes, even if it means forcing schools to teach students consent and how to protect each other from abusive behaviour.

"If some schools don't like it I think they have to rethink their position because it is young people whose health and wellbeing is being put at risk because consent issues aren't being properly addressed in schools," she said.

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