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Newman Tables Family Court Petition

Newman Tables Family Court Petition

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today tabled a petition in Parliament calling for the New Zealand Family Court to be opened up to public scrutiny.

"My petition, supported by more than 600 signees, seeks to change the presumption of the Family Court from closed to open," Dr Newman said.

"Open justice is fundamental in any democracy, yet the only court in New Zealand that does not provide the protection of open accountability, is the court that deals with families and children.

"A growing number of New Zealanders feel that Family Court outcomes are damaging to children and unfair on families. The fact that no one can discuss their cases, for fear of criminal prosecution, exacerbates the problem.

"The Labour Government failed to open the Family Court when my Private Member's Bill was in front of the previous Parliament. This petition is designed to allow a Select Committee of Parliament to revisit this important issue.

"New Zealand's Family Court should be modelled on that of Australia. Their Family Court is open to the public and the media, but protects the identity of those who come before it. The benefits of an open Family Court are widespread, including a reduction in false allegations, less litigation, and better outcomes for families and children.

"I am calling on a Select Committee of Parliament to properly investigate the merits of adopting a presumption of openness along the lines of the Family Court in Australia," Dr Newman said.

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