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Father's Day Feel-Good 'Fact' Misleads

September 2, 2004

Father's Day Feel-Good 'Fact' Misleads

A baby will be a Father's Day present for an estimated 170 men this year, according to latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.

"Statistics New Zealand have obviously taken the latest year-to-date total births and divided it by the number of days in the year," said Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB.

"Why didn't they make any adjustment for the number of babies who will be born into single parent homes, many of whom will never know who their father is? How many babies born on Father's Day will, in fact, be a present for the taxpayer? "

"A study that followed a cohort of children through the nineties found that of the 60,000 babies born in 1994 (a similar number to 2003) around 8550 newborns went straight onto the DPB."

"There were 23 babies born each day that wouldn't have fulltime Dads in their lives. Many who wouldn't even have a father named on their birth certificate. How many more would lose their Dads over the coming years?"

"By the time they reached three years of age, approximately 28,600 children had spent some or all of their life on a benefit, most frequently the DPB."

"There has been little change to this pattern. In addition, in 2002, just under 4,000 newborns were born onto a DPB that had already been in place for over ten months. The State as father is not just an accident; it is a firmly established option."

"With one in four children on the DPB, Father's Day is no celebration for thousands of disaffected Dads. Statistics New Zealand might like to dress it up with feel-good 'facts' about fathers but we need to face the reality of the declining role of fathers in today's society."

"For as long as we cling to the DPB this tragic trend will continue."

Lindsay Mitchell petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB forms available from www.liberalvalues


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