Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


How much does the break-up of the family cost us?

Judith Collins

18 March 2004

National Party Family Spokesperson

How much does the break-up of the family cost us? Recently I spoke to a group of men who had experienced what for them was the tragedy of a family break-up. Many were no longer working because the financial and emotional cost had become too much for them. One gave me a depressing insight into the situation on the estranged father:

"They give up because they are emotionally thrashed. They give most of what they have financially to their lawyer, they have no home after years of working."

In economic and social terms, what costs do divorce, separation from children, and custody disputes have upon the country? This same person believed that equal shared custody of children as an automatic starting point would allow both parents to rebuild their emotional, financial and working lives.

Many men who have been through the Family Court believe they are disadvantaged because they are men, and the court is more likely to award custody to mothers. Is it the view of most divorced men that their ex-wives are at an advantage because they have access to the Domestic Purposes Benefit and legal aid? By the same token surely we should be putting much more emphasis on keeping families together whenever this is realistic and best for the children. Family break-ups are a sad reality for many. Let's not turn them into tragedies for our children, or for Mum, Dad and grandparents.

The Law Commission has this week produced a comprehensive report on the Court structure and made many wide-ranging suggestions for change. Those relating to the Family Court go some way to addressing the need to open the Court but I suggest, they do not go quite far enough. Even if all the recommendations are accepted, it would still not help a Mum and Dad who waited more than 3 years for a custody hearing - too late to get back their little child. It would still not help people to speak out about their own cases and identify counsel, counsel for the child, social workers, psychologists or judges who they believed had not acted competently. Clearly, no one in their right mind would want distressed children paraded through the news media. What must happen though, is that incompetent or under resourced professionals and government departments should not be able to hide behind the shield of anonymity.

Good news for those concerned about the social engineering that has taken place since the 1970's. The Women's Electoral Lobby has announced that after 27 years it is to disband. Set up in 1975, it now acknowledges that it is past its use-by date. As a relict of a sexist past, it should soon be joined by the Ministry of Women's Affairs - an institution which persists in portraying women as victims.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news