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Baldock: Making families more resilient

Media statement For immediate release Thursday, 11 December, 2003

Baldock: Making families more resilient

The Families Commission will play a part in more "resilient" New Zealand families, United Future's Larry Baldock told Parliament today, at the bill's third reading.

"And while we might look at the social cost of family breakdown of $5 billion to $6 billion a year, we clearly see that stronger, more resilient families is a good thing, but it is equally important just in the sense of the success of human lives," Mr Baldock said.

Resilience is not a PC buzzword, but reflects an "enormous weight of research and family practise that is well documented", he said.

"This Commission will look at what works, as much as what doesn't work. It will look at ways in which it can help people build on the strengths of their families.

It moves family thinking passed "purely income-related issues, as has been our tradition".

"We need to better understand why it is that some individuals and families faced with serious threats and challenges to their well being, manage to cope well, while others faced with similar circumstances, do not," he said.

Crisis and challenge is inherent in family life at various times, and the Families Commission will look at the big picture of issues facing families - including running a measuring stick over legislation for its impact on the family.

'This Commission means the family will no longer be an afterthought in policy-making. What is good for the family will be supported, what is detrimental will be vigorously opposed.

"There will be no excuse any longer to look at a disastrous situation, years down the road, and say that a law or a policy took a huge toll on our families.

"Would we have the same student debt disaster that we have today, if a Families Commission had been there to research, to analyse and to highlight the impact past tertiary education revamps have had on families, and put that case to a government?

"The Families Commission will put families first. And it's about time!" Mr Baldock said.

Ends.

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