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Celebrating Families 23 August 2004

Celebrating Families 23 August 2004

The Newsletter of Judith Collins MP
National Party Family Spokesperson
23 August 2004

What makes successful children? As a Member of Parliament, I constantly come across fantastic young people and their parents. It is very obvious that children have a much higher chance of being fine New Zealand citizens when they have fine parents supporting and encouraging them. It's about time that we put a bit more effort into celebrating great kids and their families.

Great kids who could sing were the main attraction when I attended the Papakura Music Festival 2004 presented by the Papakura Principals' Association recently. Great teenagers who sing, dance and act were the main attraction at Rosehill College's production of Alice in Wonderland that my son and I attended last Saturday. Proud parents were everywhere.

Paddling Pools to be fenced In the latest round of treating parents as idiots, is last week's edict from the Government that paddling pools will need to be fenced. To comply, parents will face bills of up to $5,000 to fence the lawn area required for the pool. Water Safety NZ figures show no children have drowned in paddling pools in the last 5 years. Paddling pools are a part of growing up in New Zealand. They achieve several results: first they are fun, they cool off children and most importantly, they are a great way for toddlers to get used to water in a controlled environment. Paddling pools are not babysitters and can be dangerous if a toddler is not supervised. Baths are also dangerous. That's why we don't leave toddlers to bath themselves. Troughs on farms are dangerous. That's why we don't let toddlers play in or around them. Creeks and ponds are dangerous. And then there is the beach. Every year, people die at the beach. Are we expected to fence that too?

Parental right to know In the last couple of decades, the notion of children's rights has evolved. Unfortunately, a young child is not able to enforce or even articulate those rights and so the State steps in. Those rights are therefore transferred to the State and invariably involve the parents losing their rights as parents.

Current legislation seems to strip parents of their rights and focus on the so called rights of the children. Who promotes those rights? Who enforces them? Who effectively takes over those rights? Answer: The State.

Against whom are those rights enforced? Inevitably, the parents.

A very topical example is the provision in the Care of Children Bill that provides for any female child of any age (eg. 10,12 years old) to have an abortion without either of her parents even knowing about it, let alone consenting to it. This provision is being brought through from the Guardianship Act, and in my opinion, it's time to stop this appalling attack on parental rights. I have drafted an amendment to the Bill providing for parental notification with a judicial bypass to a family court judge in chambers. It disgusts me that the law is being used to not only keep parents in the dark about their child's situation, but also to allow an abuser of a child to continue without detection. When, as a parent, I contrast that situation to a school nurse needing my consent to give my child any form of medication, the mind boggles. We have children today, having abortions and being sent home to their families, with those families not knowing what is going on. What if the child suffers an infection? What if the child suffers depression? What if Mum's partner is responsible and Mum doesn't know? One of the supporters of the underage abortion situation told me that a girl will tell her mother or father if there is a good relationship. In my opinion, if a girl hasn't told her mother or father that she is pregnant, she is highly unlikely to tell them that she has just undergone an abortion. Most children (of any age) want their parents to be proud of them. Make sure that you let the Associate Minister David Benson-Pope know what you think about this issue.

Not all parents are created equal. I believe though that with very, very few exceptions, almost any parent is better than none.


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