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Minister of Womens Affairs Totally Deluded

FAMILIES APART REQUIRE EQUALITY (FARE) 19 Hornsey Road, Melrose Wellington, New Zealand; Tel 04 389 4222 Fax 04 934 4080 Mobile 025 439 461, E-Mail aasbt@attglobal.net

18 April 2000

Press Release

Minister of Women’s Affairs Totally Deluded

“The Minister for Women’s affairs, Hon. Laila Harre, must be totally deluded given her short-sighted condemnation of shared parenting”, said FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward in response to the Minister’s appearance on Morning Report today

"Ms Harre has got matters completely wrong if she considers shared parenting has been unsuccessful overseas. I personally visited the United States on a fact-finding mission and spent time with various social agencies there. In particular, I was greatly impressed by their custody laws, which are generally vastly superior to what we have here. Under their laws, disputing parents are empowered to actually co-operate with each other and everyone wins, especially the children. The only losers are lawyers, psychologists, counsellors and others who previously profited from the suffering of children. ”

"We agree with Ms Harre that the welfare of the child should is most important. However, the welfare of children is in reality currently ignored, even though it is stated in law. How can laws that effectively shut one parent out of a child’s life be seen as being in the child’s best interests? Shared parenting on the other hand will in reality ratify the welfare of the child.”

“We are however at complete a loss to explain Ms Harre’s most bizarre claim that the New Zealand model of custody laws is ‘highly regarded overseas’. We must ask by whom! After all, New Zealand surely has amongst the worst family law in the world. We have the worst death rate for children under one year, the second highest rate of sole parent families in the industrialised world, the worst youth suicide rate and one of the worst teenage pregnancy rates. Overseas research clearly links such social disasters to children only having one parent.”

"It is time to once and for all dispel the myth that most children in sole parent families were abandoned by their fathers. It is a fact that over 70% of divorces in New Zealand are initiated by wives, not husbands. Your typical absent father is not absent by choice, and he is hindered by the current regime from having any meaningful involvement with his children other than payment of child support."

“There are those who claim that parents who do not live with their children retain guardianship. The reality is that guardianship in practice is not worth the paper it is written on, as any father who has survived a visit to the Family Court can tell you. Only a law change will uphold the right of children to receive love and care from both of their parents, as is enshrined in the United nations Declaration of the rights of the Child, to which New Zealand is a signatory”.

"Of course the real losers under the current regime are the children. The horrific social consequences of a child being denied one of its parents are becoming obvious, even though it remains politically correct to be in denial of this. fact”

“Only shared parenting will ensure that the welfare of the child truly is paramount", concluded Ward.

ends

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