A national summit on family violence to be hosted Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Justice Minister Amy Adams in Wellington is shaping up to be everything it was cynically forecast to be some months ago.

If this is one of the biggest issues facing New Zealand society, as we are so often told to believe, then an event which focuses only on what to do once the abuse and bashings have happened just doesn't cut the mustard.

The ministers will address the opening of what will be an eight-and-a-half hour event, less lunch, afternoon tea and a summary by chairman and former Te Puni Kokiri chief executive and National Party vice-president Sir Wira Gardiner.

The ministers will address the opening, and keynote speakers are founding Ministry for Vulnerable Children chief executive Grainne Moss, national Maori social industry training adviser Maree Tukukino, Social Workers Registration Board chairman Shayne Walker, and Sue Hobbs, whose credentials seem to be most about ensuring the safety of those who could be victims.

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Compare this with a two-day Australian summit earlier this year, which didn't have to wait till just three months before an election to be held, nor provide a showcase for any ministers of the Crown just three months before facing the public vote.

It received a report from a summit 12 months earlier, and while it didn't play all the cards in the deck it did include a keynote speech entitled "Stop it before it starts," and another seeking out the "male champions of change".

Serious subject, but who's taking it seriously?