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Government Puts Money Before Children

31 January 2002

"The Property (Relationships) Act that comes into effect tomorrow (1 February 2002) must be one of the most acrimonious and ill-conceived pieces of legislation ever to have been passed by Parliament", FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward said today.

"The new Act allows the granting of an unequal share of matrimonial property in favour of the party who gains custody of children. This will cause a massive increase in the cases of one parent being given an incentive to force the children's other parent out of their lives. Even more children will be forced to lose their fathers. This Act will see parents who have sacrificed precious time they could have spent with their children so that they could work to support their families, penalised by a lucrative incentive for their partners to leave with the children and continue to enjoy the material benefits of their former relationship."

"It is clear that the primary victims of the Government's radical social engineering will again be the children who will have one of their biological parents taken off them by a regime that places greed and self interest ahead of the welfare of children."

"If the Government really cared about the welfare of children it would have supported Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill, which made shared parenting the starting point for children's care arrangements (as opposed to the 100% to 0% split that is the current norm). Overseas experience shows that shared parenting produces superior outcomes for children. However Hon. Laila Harre and Hon. Margaret Wilson refused to allow the facts to get in the way of ideology, and made all sorts of erroneous comments trying to ignore the superiority of shared parenting. The Government would not even allow the Shared Parenting Bill to be discussed by a Select Committee. This shows that, in the words of Dr Newman, this Government is more concerned about the welfare of fridges than of children".

"Once again it will be lawyers who are winners and children who are losers in this latest destructive act of a Government whose blind commitment to an extremist social agenda will put even more families at risk. Considering that the real damage of this Act will not aggregate until after this years election, this Government knows already that it lacks the courage to pick up the pieces", Ward concluded.

ends

Enquiries to Darryl Ward 025 230 1667

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