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Child Care Bill Huge Disappointment

Child Care Bill Huge Disappointment

The long-awaited Care of Children Bill was tabled today, and ACT's initial response is one of huge disappointment, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The Bill was meant to introduce provisions for `shared parenting', so that - in the event of family breakdown - both parents are empowered to cooperate in the best interests of their children," Dr Newman said.

"Instead, a heavy-handed, punitive regime has been introduced. This could see parents, who have been disadvantaged by unfair court orders which are detrimental to their relationship with their children, fined or thrown in jail.

"The Bill was also meant to introduce changes to open up the Family Court. Yet Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel's answers, in Parliament today, indicate that they are little more than Clayton's changes.

"What the Bill should have done was to model our Family Court on Australia's open Family Court. Doing so would have brought in the benefits of open justice, transparency, less litigation, fewer false allegations and lower costs to New Zealand families and children," Dr Newman said.

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