Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Committee reports on Family Court Matters Bill

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

4 April 2008
Media Statement
Select Committee reports on Family Court Matters Bill

Courts Minister, Rick Barker has welcomed the Social Services Select Committee report on the Family Court Matters Bill and is now looking forward to the Bill's second reading.

The Family Courts Matters Bill amends family law legislation to increase the openness of proceedings, provide for non-judicial mediation, and make other minor process and procedure changes designed to improve the operation of the Family Courts.

This Government responded to the Law Commission’s 2003 report on Dispute Resolution in the Family Court by piloting non-judicial mediation in 2005. Given its success, this Bill is the legislative vehicle allowing for the Courts to direct attendance and implement this as a permanent tool to help resolve relationship disputes.

"The Family Courts Matters Bill is an important piece of legislation which will have a positive impact on New Zealand families, who need to go through the Family Court process. We are always looking for ways for ways to improve and streamline Court processes and this Bill, while technical in its scope, will improve the openness and outcomes of the Family Court," Mr Barker said.

"The Bill has returned from Select Committee with some key changes, particularly around counselling services for children.

"Currently only 5-6 per cent of the Family Court's cases go to a defended hearing. However, in the small number of difficult cases where a parenting order is required, some children may need assistance to accept the terms the order. The Bill will now enable Judges in this situation to recommend children attend counselling. The purpose of this counselling is to maintain family relationships and ensure that a Court order can work in practice.

"I am also pleased that the Committee has adopted the Government’s recommendation that the Bill contain a provision giving children the right to speak with a counsellor, or take part in joint sessions with their parents. There are obvious advantages in children talking with the same person as their parents. The counsellor can make sure parents are aware of their child’s views; and involving children in their parent's counselling may help reduce conflict by focussing the issues on the child’s needs," Mr Barker said.

The Bill also introduces family or non-judicial mediation. Children will be able to attend mediation at the discretion of the mediator and Counselling will be available to help children formulate and clarify their views before taking part. The Family Court Matters Bill was introduced in 16 August 2007 and is currently awaiting its second reading having been reported back by the Social Services Select Committee.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>




Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election