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Speech To Union Of Fathers, Tawa -- Muriel Newman

Speech To Union Of Fathers, Tawa -- Dr Muriel Newman

Throughout the ages, the traditional married family of mum, dad, and the kids has been shown to be the most successful child-rearing institution ever invented.

In general, children raised in such families are encouraged to achieve in education, to participate in sport, and to take personal responsibility for growing into self-reliant, contributing citizens.

That is not to say that other children, raised in other types of families, do not achieve these outcomes, because they most certainly do. But the reality is that parents in other types of family groupings often have far greater barriers and hurdles to overcome to achieve child-rearing success.

In a democracy, politics is the battle for the hearts, minds and votes of its citizens. Traditionally, the battlefield is defined on a left-to-right scale, where parties on the left essentially believe in a powerful state and a strong government - resulting in weaker, more dependent citizens. The politicians of the right, on the other hand, believe in keeping the state in check, with a limited government and strong empowered citizens.

In New Zealand, nowhere is this struggle so evident as in regard to the family. The parties of the left - Labour, the Progressives and the Greens - are all committed to the continued undermining of marriage and the traditional nuclear family. Their agenda is to normalise alternative family arrangements and increase welfare dependency. As a result of the government's elevation of more unstable family structures, the rate of family breakdown and dysfunction will grow, and the demand for social welfare services will increase. Further, the relentless infiltration of the state's power into the lives of citizens - and even communities - will continue, undermining their own ability to be strong, independent and responsible.

The parties of the right - ACT and National - strongly believe in the importance of the nuclear family, and, while respecting the right of adults to choose non-traditional family structures, will fight to protect the institution of marriage and the rights of children to have both a mum and a dad. That is why both parties opposed the Matrimonial Properties Act and will oppose our socialist government's latest attack on the family, the Families Commission Bill and the Care of Children Bill, while supporting my Shared Parenting Bill - which would have enabled children, whose parents have separated, to retain the support of both their mother and their father.

It is also why both National and ACT strongly support my campaign to open-up the Family Court, whose role it is to interpret family law changes, to the same level of public scrutiny as all other courts.

While claiming to support the family, the last two parties in Parliament - United Future and New Zealand First - do not have a track record to prove it: United voted for Labour's bill to soften the DPB - which is already causing an increase in family breakdown - and New Zealand First voted against my Shared Parenting Bill.

So what is the future of the family under this Government ... and beyond?

Labour will continue to relentlessly pursue the socialist ideal of destroying the nuclear family and expanding the welfare state. Their mandate to do so has been secured by generous largesse - funded by working taxpayers - to groups of largely non-workers: beneficiaries, superannuitants, students, Mäori and Pacific Islanders. Their majority to pursue this destructive agenda through Parliament has been obtained from the Greens and/or the United Party. Their achievement will be more marginalisation and greater dependency on welfare, securing, as a result, increased long-term power.

Labour will succeed for as long as voters continue to fail to properly question and scrutinise their agenda and the impact it will have on our society.

But it could be different. A centre-right government of National and ACT would deliver tax cuts, to not only ease the stress on working families and provide them with financial support, but to also encourage and reward hard work and enterprise. A centre-right government would reform the welfare system, returning welfare for the able bodied to being a temporary safety net, rather than a way of life and an incentive for family breakdown and sole parenthood.

A centre-right government would introduce shared parenting so that, in the event of family break-ups, children would retain the support of both their mother and father, grandparents and extended family as well. And a centre-right government would open up the Family Court so that the atrocities that currently occur in secret would be forced into the public arena creating a mandate for change.

ACT has always stood up for the family and for the right of all children to retain the contact and support of both their mother and their father. With less than 100 weeks before the next election, I urge you to back the ACT party as we fight for the on-going attacks on the family. Procrastination or indecision in this regard is tantamount to another nail in the coffin of the New Zealand family.

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