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Shared Parenting Bill tests govt's credibility

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9 May 2000
Press Release

Shared Parenting Bill will test government’s credibility.

“The government risks losing any democratic credibility it may have ever possessed if it stops Dr Muriel Newmans’s Shared Parenting Bill from being referred to a select committee tomorrow”, FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward said today.

“The Shared Parenting Bill is the most important piece of family and social law to come before Parliament in 30 years, because the bill will at last make mothers and fathers equal parents. Overseas experience shows shared parenting is highly beneficial for children and families.”

“Yet the government, with the connivance of the Greens and NZ First, has indicated it will force a party vote to ensure it can get rid of the Shared Parenting Bill. It is a travesty that last week the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill, one of the government’s pet pieces of legislation, was allowed a conscience vote. If the Shared Parenting Bill was allowed a conscience vote it would certainly be passed to the select committee stage, where ordinary New Zealanders would at last be able to have their say. It seems dividing up the cutlery and linen after a separation is more important to the government than the welfare of our children and families.”

“New Zealand now has one of the worst environments in the world for children, with the highest suicide and mortality rates. One of the principle causes of these appalling statistics is that we have one of the world’s highest rates of sole parent families. The government seems determined to defeat the viable way to address these concerns by ignoring the issues addressed by the Shared Parenting Bill. This bill which would dramatically lower our alarming rise of sole parent families by replacing most of them with families with two parents.”

“The people of New Zealand know in their hearts that given the choice of a two-parent family or a sole parent family, the majority of parents and children would choose two parents. Yet the government continues to favour the formation of sole parent families. Even the Governor General has warned that we are heading for a social disaster in ten years time when over half our children over 12 months will live in fatherless families.

“Democracy and children will pay a savage price when the government puts politics ahead of families and defeats the Shared Parenting Bill tomorrow,” concluded Ward.


For more information phone 025 230 1667 Electronic copy available from: taliesin@paradise.net.nz

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