‘Please Consider the Children’ – Muriel Newman
ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Muriel Newman says the right of children of parents who are separating to maintain contact with both parents hangs in the balance.
Dr Newman’s Shared Parenting Bill comes up for first reading in Parliament this Wednesday (April 5). The Bill supports families making their own custody decisions, but if agreement can’t be reached, parents would get 50/50 rights instead of the current sole custody law.
If a majority of MPs support the Bill on Wednesday, it will go to a select committee for consideration and public submissions. If it does not get majority support, it has no chance of becoming law.
Dr Newman says she has been surprised by the attitude of Labour and the Alliance who appear to be unwilling to support the Bill, saying they will instead do a review of the Family Court.
“While we would welcome such a review, I am concerned that it is a smokescreen to cloud the real issues of the rights of children to keep in contact with both parents – a right that is severely threatened under current family law practice,” said Dr Newman.
“I am still hopeful that New Zealand First and the Greens will vote to advance the Bill to a select committee. This would mean the public would get the chance to make submissions on this vital issue.
“Given the widespread support that we have so far received from New Zealanders adversely affected by the present law, I hope Labour and the Alliance will reconsider their position as well,” said Muriel Newman.