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'Clinical' Govt has no feel for families

Friday, 4 February 2005

Turner: 'Clinical' Govt has no feel for families

Prime Minister Helen Clark can cite Scandinavian models all she likes, but for many parents something is rotten in the state of Denmark with the Government's "clinical" approach to families, United Future deputy leader Judy Turner said today.

"Parents who choose to parent full-time need some reassurance that this Government doesn't deep down regard their choice as second best. Words won't do it. Equal incentives will.

"And that applies equally to the breed-and-adopt Nats," she said, citing a groundswell of family concern on talkback radio and in letters to editors nationwide.

"Parents want more than lip-service to their commitment to their families. They want equal incentives to those proffered to those women the Prime Minister is so keen to get into the workforce," Mrs Turner said.

The Government is too clinical by half towards families, she said.

"OECD indicators seem to arouse more passion in Government circles than a real acknowledgement of families that Kiwis can relate to," she said.

"People don't sit around the dinner table talking about adding 3 percent to the GDP; they talk about how Johnny is going at school; how little Sue is going through a tough patch and needs a bit of extra attention. Parents who make life decisions consistent with that need to be genuinely acknowledged.

"Dawn-to-dusk schooling and care may be the reality for many children as the Prime Minister points out, but it's a very different matter to make it some kind of desired model.

"It is anything but child-focused and anything but asking what is best for them," she said.

Mrs Turner said the reality of the Government's recent moves was that no mum at home raising kids has been up-lifted or felt valued this week.

"Basically if it can't factored in to an economic outcome, then it doesn't seriously rate for this Government - and families don't work that way."

ENDS

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