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Maharey Statement False And Out Of Touch

Maharey Statement False And Out Of Touch

How can Social Development Minister Steve Maharey find no evidence to dispute his claim that sole mother families are as good as nuclear families, when his own department says otherwise, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Mr Maharey's statement flies in the face of the Social Development Ministry's June 2002 Social Policy Journal finding that significant risks to children include `being in contact with the benefit system at birth', `living with a sole caregiver at first contact' and having a caregiver who is `in receipt of the Domestic Purposes Benefit'," Dr Newman said.

"These conclusions are consistent with the publicly-stated views of CYF Head of Maori Strategy Peter Douglas, who identified that significant risks exist to children who live in a sole parent family.

"International research concurs. Swedish research - involving almost a million children - found that children growing up in single-parent households are twice as likely to suffer mental illness, commit suicide or develop an alcohol-related disease than children who live with both parents.

"Meanwhile, British research shows that children whose parents are not married are more than twice as likely to have under-age sex and have unwanted pregnancies.

"US research has also found that the safest environment for a child is where `the biological parents are married and the family has always been intact', and that `the rate of abuse is 14 times higher if the child is living with a biological mother who lives alone'.

"In claiming that having one parent is as good as having two, Mr Maharey is clearly pursuing the ideological socialist agenda of undermining the nuclear family. In doing so, he and his Government will leave a legacy of family breakdown and damaged children," Dr Newman said.

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