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Budget Ignores Basic Building Block Of Family Life

15 May 2003

Budget Ignores Basic Building Block Of Family Life

Today’s Budget once again ignored the most basic building block of strong family life - the institution of marriage. Christian Heritage family spokesperson Ewen McQueen said the Government can talk all it likes about family, but if it ignores marriage it will achieve little. He said the international evidence was now very clear about the importance of marriage in producing positive outcomes for family life. These included greater stability, less violence and abuse, and less likelihood of welfare dependency. He stated,

“It is time the Government acted on the evidence showing the benefits of marriage rather than creating policy based on their own ideology of how families ought to be viewed. Of course all members of all families are equally valuable. However not all family structures are equal - one model (the family with two parents who are married) produces better social outcomes. This fact should be reflected in public policy.”

Mr McQueen, who is also the Christian Heritage finance spokesperson, said the budget presented a prime opportunity for the Government to put in place some initiatives that would help build the ethic of commitment back into New Zealand’s relationship culture. That opportunity had been missed. He commented,

“For example, income splitting for married couples would have been relatively inexpensive to implement. However it would have sent a strong message that affirmed the institution of marriage. This is the very message that our society urgently needs to hear.”

Mr McQueen said that while the new Families Commission funded in the budget could potentially be a useful agency, it also posed some significant risks. He noted,

“In-as-much as the establishment of this Commission sends the message that the Government sees marriage as merely one of a range of equivalent family forms, it is likely to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Our children need parents who have made formal, public, and lifelong commitments to each other. They don’t need a Commission celebrating the diversity of all family forms.”

END

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