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Bill strengthens parents' rights in Family Court

Hon Dr Nick Smith Nelson MP

29 June 2004

Bill strengthens parents' rights in Family Court

Nelson MP Nick Smith, convicted in March for contempt of court after criticising the Family Court, has welcomed a further opening of the Family Court and new provisions that better recognise the role of parents.

He is also praising the increased emphasis on issues involving children being dealt with more quickly.

"The Care of Children Bill opens up the Family Court a great deal and will provide far greater accountability. It enables the media to get access and will also enable other family members and supporters to attend. It is a major step forward.

"I also welcome Parliament giving the courts a clear direction that children's best interests are served by them having an ongoing relationship with their mother and father. It is also a welcome reform that the court needs to recognise that issues involving children need to be dealt with in a timely way.

"It is ironic that on the three issues I highlighted last year, and for which I was prosecuted by the Solicitor-General, Parliament has accepted the need for reform. I may have lost the battle but have won the war," says Dr Smith


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