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Who Are The Real Victims?

Who Are The Real Victims?

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today labelled the Labour Government's Social Security (Social Assistance) Amendment Bill - which will change sole-parents' obligations to name the father of their child - yet another Labour attack on the children of New Zealand.

"By allowing errant fathers to escape financial responsibility for raising their children, and further alienating those fathers who do want to take responsibility, Labour is leaving children bereft of the male role models that they so desperately need," Dr Newman said.

"The problem of children with unnamed fathers - which this Government inherited upon taking office - has doubled under Labour's stewardship. Already, there are around 40,000 children who do not have a father named on their birth certificate.

"Every child has a right to know who their father is - the only exception should be where the mother has suffered rape or incest. In this day and age, where DNA sampling is inexpensive and unobtrusive, paternity testing should be a requirement where there is any doubt.

"Labour's response to this growing problem is an unprincipled cop-out. The proposed legislation will have huge ramifications: it creates strong incentives for mothers to avoid penalties by claiming that either the father is violent or that he is a deadbeat dad who isn't worth naming and wouldn't pay up anyway.

"As a result of this proposed legislation we will see a surge in claims of violence against men. We will also see an increase in the number of men who know they can father a child and walk away with no consequences. Meanwhile, the results for Labour will be positive - a reduction in the embarrassing rise in fatherlessness, and a lowering of child support debt.

"For the children and the country, the news is all bad as more and more children are raised in families without the support of their dad - leading to an eventual rise in criminal offending, teenage pregnancy and all the other negative consequences that can now be clearly attributed to fatherlessness.

"This is State-sanctioned fatherlessness and, through it all, there will be only one true victim: the child - who, as Labour's own Minister Tamihere recently acknowledged, now, more than ever before, need good male role models," Dr Newman said.

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