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Shared parenting, not $6m, the answer

Shared parenting, not $6m, the answer

Dr Muriel Newman Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Press Releases - Social Welfare

It is a sad day for New Zealand when a government throws another $6.2 million of taxpayer’s money into the family destruction industry, instead of getting to the heart of the problem and fixing the law, ACT Deputy Leader Dr Muriel Newman said today.

Dr Newman was responding to today’s announcement that the Government will spend $6.2m over the next four years to run programmes through the Family Court to help separating parents reduce conflict and the stress separation can cause their children.

“The problem of conflict between separating parents, which creates victims out of their children, stems from the antiquated custody laws which Labour has refused to change,” Dr Newman said.

“Under these laws, two parents who are considered equal with regard to their responsibility for their children before their relationship breaks down, are no longer considered to be equal afterwards. The mother is awarded sole custody of the children and dad is charged child support and has an occasional visit with his children. That is what is responsible for some of the conflict between separating couples.

“On three separate occasions I have promoted shared parenting legislation that would fix this position.

“Under shared parenting, both parents are deemed to be equal with regard to their responsibility for their children after a separation,” Dr Newman said. “They can both decide on the living, schooling and other arrangements that would be in the best interests of their child.

“In countries where shared parenting is the law, conflict has significantly reduced. Children do better and both parents are valued. It’s a win, win situation.

“It saddens me that Labour has defeated my attempts to introduce shared parenting. I can only conclude that they have no desire to sort this problem out,” Dr Newman said.


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