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First Step To Shared Parenting Referendum

Friday 26th May 2000
Dr Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Other

The first steps are being taken towards a citizens initiated referendum to see shared parenting become law.

Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the Dunedin group ‘The child’s right to be mothered and fathered’, has lodged a proposal with the Clerk of the House to promote a petition for a referendum on shared parenting. He has begun the process following the Government’s decision not to support ACT MP, Muriel Newman’s Shared Parenting Bill to a Parliamentary Select Committee.

Tomorrow’s daily newspapers will carry advertisements calling for public submissions on the proposal. ACT MP Dr Muriel Newman said she supports Mr Hawkins initiative and will be making a submission to the Clerk on the proposal and wording of the petition.

She said the Shared Parenting Bill, to put the rights of children first when parents were separating or divorcing, had touched hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who had been affected by the heartbreak of family breakdown.

“There was huge disappointment that the Government hadn’t listened to their concerns. In voting down the Shared Parenting Bill, Labour and the Alliance had refused to let their voices be heard in front of a Select Committee,” she said.

“Shared Parenting is an idea whose time has come. I welcome a citizen like Mr Hawkins taking up the battle on behalf of children to ensure they can maintain frequent and ongoing access to both of their parents after family breakdown,” said Muriel Newman.

Mr Hawkins group has set up a 24 hour answering service for those wanting to discuss shared parenting. The number is (03) 4714050.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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