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Reform Necessary to Strengthen Families

Reform Necessary to Strengthen Families

Speech Excerpt: Speech to public meeting at Russley Hotel, Christchurch, 6pm.

At a public meeting in Christchurch today, ACT Social Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman challenged other political parties to support her call for dual reform - welfare and family law reform - as the only honest way to strengthen New Zealand Families.

"When you have in place a welfare system that pays parents to separate, then you will encourage family breakdown. When family law awards sole custody of children to their mother, then you will ensure the widespread alienation of fathers.

"New Zealand leads the world in family breakdown, in fatherlessness and in all of the consequential adverse outcomes for children. If political parties are serious about wanting to reverse these trends and strengthen families then the only honest way forward is for them to support ACT's programme of welfare reform and family law reform.

"We must return the welfare system to that envisaged by its creator, Michael Joseph Savage - a hand up to work, independence and a better way of life.

"We urgently need to reform family law by introducing shared parenting to ensure that children whose parents do separate retain frequent and on-gong contact with both their mother and father. And we need to open up the Family Court so that parents are encouraged into mediation rather than acrimonious and costly litigation.

"Any party that claims to be family friendly but fails to support my call for reform is being dishonest," Dr Newman said.

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