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Newman Online Weekly commentary by Muriel Newman

Newman Online Weekly commentary by Dr Muriel Newman MP

Labour Government’s feminist agenda undermines the family.

This week Newman Online looks at the Labour Government’s feminist agenda and how it is undermining the New Zealand family.

It is difficult to understand how a government that deliberately undermines the family - disadvantaging children and marginalising fathers - can retain popular support? That is unless the unsuspecting public is not really aware of their anti-family agenda.

That extreme agenda is deeply embedded within Labour’s radical feminist and lesbian factions and has been a significant force driving not only the Party, but also parts of the public service, for more than thirty years. There is no doubt that while many New Zealanders have suspected that this is the case, it was former Minister John Tamihere who confirmed it in the recent “Investigate Magazine” interview.

The feminist vision was to end the oppression of women by liberating them from the shackles of a husband and family. They wanted to see power firmly in the hands of women, with women ultimately taking over the country’s top jobs. With four of the major players in the feminist movement having now become Prime Minister, Parliament’s Speaker, Chief Justice and Governor General, their agenda is extremely well progressed.

But while seeing women winning top jobs by competing equally with men is one thing, three out of four of those top positions are appointments made by the Prime Minister: by appointing her mates, Helen Clark has shown that she puts cronyism ahead of merit and can’t be trusted.

The march of modern-day feminism was given a significant boost in 1984 when the Labour Government established the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Over the years the Ministry has focussed exclusively on women’s rights and if those rights have been achieved at the expense of family wellbeing and the rights of men, then that is the price we have to pay for giving the radical activists within Labour who were driving the driving force, a free reign.

Even today, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs states on its website: “While all government agencies have responsibility for improving outcomes for New Zealand women, the Ministry of Women's Affairs plays a key role in leading gender analysis across government and in driving government policy towards achieving improvements in outcomes for women. The Ministry will continue to work towards increasing the numbers of women in leadership and decision-making roles”.

Further, a key objective is to get women out of the home and into the workplace through improving “access to quality child-care to help women enter or re-enter the paid workforce and retain workplace attachment”, and providing and extending “paid parental leave to parents seeking to retain workplace attachment while caring for new babies”.

While such state enticement of new mothers to go back to work and place their children in childcare – soon to be nationalised I suspect – sounds supportive, it is in fact yet another nail in the coffin of the family.

A fundamental belief of radical feminism in the traditional family imposes on women a framework of economic compulsion, social dependence and sexual repression. They believe that the family as we know it should be destroyed and replaced with economic and social institutions that are “superior”.

That is why Labour has elevated every other form of relationship to the same status in law as marriage and why last year they refused to sign up to the United Nations Doha Declaration on the Family, which seeks to support the traditional family and encourage marriage. It also explains why Labour is so committed to state funded child rearing, whereby single women are paid to raise children on their own and fathers who own up are punished with a dysfunctional and punitive child support system that has spiralled out of control.

Under Labour, child support debt has exploded to almost $1 billion, with penalties making up the bulk of that debt. The system is in such a mess that over 14,000 of the 126,000 liable parents who owe child support receive assistance themselves through the Working for Families package. That means that if they try to get on top of their debt by earning more money, they lose it all through tax and the withdrawal of assistance, making them victims of an effective 100 percent marginal tax rate.

Further, while the evidence is clear to the Labour Government that liable fathers who maintain a good relationship with their children will willingly take responsibility for paying their dues, they have not been prepared to introduce shared parenting to ensure that more dads remain involved in their children’s lives. Neither is Labour prepared to undertake the ground up overhaul of child support laws that are so desperately needed.

While men in general and fathers in particular have become the unwitting victims of radical feminism, the full extent to which the feminist agenda has progressed is difficult to believe.

Back in the seventies, they published a list of ‘demands’ that included integrating sex education into all levels of the school system including pre-school, abolishing all laws victimising prostitution, making abortion free and on demand, providing defacto and gay couples with a legal status equal to marriage, introducing 12-weeks paid maternity leave, providing 24-hour-a-day Government child care centres for children from early infancy and ensuring the rearing, social welfare and education of children becomes the responsibility of society rather than individual parents by abolishing all laws enforcing the individual ownership of children.

Thiry years on, with the exception of 24-hour childcare, they have all been achieved. And the unsuspecting public didn’t even realise the extent to which it was all happening. How Helen Clark and her radical feminist mates must laugh!

The majority of New Zealanders do believe that the traditional nuclear family is the basic economic and social unit of society and they understand that if families have financial independence and children access to effective education, they will be successful, contributing members of society. Yet that majority has allowed a minority group to implement an agenda that threatens to undermine the fundamental stability of our society.

If ever there was a reason for a change in government it is this: We must give those who believe in the family and our traditional values and aspirations a chance to regroup, rebuild, and make those changes that are necessary to ensure our laws enhance the future wellbeing of our society, rather than undermining it.

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