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Remove The Family Court Shroud Of Secrecy

Remove The Family Court Shroud Of Secrecy

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today labelled proposed changes to the Family Court as nothing more than window-dressing, and accused the Government of just fiddling round the edges rather than addressing the real issue.

"These initiatives are just a Labour apology for not opening up the Family Court. While they might prove useful, they are just a way to make people think they've had a fair go when really they have not," Dr Newman said.

"That the Family Court must be more responsive and effective is a given, but the real need is that of openness and transparency. For too long the Family Court has been a shadowy forum - the proceedings and outcomes of which are kept secret from public scrutiny.

"It is long past time that New Zealand woke up and saw what was happening around the world. Australia has seen massive benefits from letting the light into its Family Court. If we were to follow the Australian example, we would see the work of our courts diminish, as people would see the cost of lengthy litigation and opt for mediation instead.

"The Family Court is about providing the best outcomes for New Zealand families. Secrecy hinders that. I am calling on this Labour Government to quit stonewalling on this issue. Opening up the Family Court would achieve much more than all the window-dressing in the world. Beating around the bush does nothing, it is time to address the real issues," Dr Newman said.

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