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Maxim Real Issues No. 128, 16 SEPTEMBER

Maxim Real Issues No. 128, 16 SEPTEMBER

Clause 37 - keeps parents in the dark

NZ married men live longer

NCEA, a pretty big gamble

Help grow Real Issues

Civil Society talk Friday


Clause 37 - keeps parents in the dark

Clause 37 of the Care of Children Bill currently before Parliament enshrines an existing provision whereby girls of any age can have an abortion without their parents' knowledge. Not surprisingly clause 37 is consistent with a move in the bill; shifting responsibility for the care of children from parents and on to the State.

Results from an AC Neilson poll in March 2004, revealed that 76% of respondents either 'agree' or 'strongly agree' that parents or guardians should be notified if their underage daughter is considering an abortion, before any decision to proceed is made. It appears that MP Judith Collins' proposed amendment requiring parental notification is in line with public opinion. This should not come as a surprise. Parents care more about their children than doctors, or politicians.

The New Zealand Medical Association has strongly opposed Mrs Collins' amendment, citing patient-doctor confidentiality as being of prime importance. Yet an abortion is the only medical procedure that a child can have without parental consent. It can only be the unique nature of an abortion which requires an exceptional level of confidentially; yet the nature of an abortion is also the reason why parental awareness is all the more important.

The current law assumes the child’s right to privacy trumps her parents' right to be informed. Parents, however, not the doctors, are responsible for her ongoing welfare, and parental consent is required for any procedure or treatment needed to deal with any post abortion complications. The proposed amendment would still retain confidentiality in extreme circumstances, and require police notification of any abuse. Unless the government wants to deliberately sideline the role of parents, the proposed amendment is a sensible way forward.

A new website explains more about why clause 37 needs to be amended, and what you can do: www.parentscare.org.nz

To read an article on this issue by Maxim Director Bruce Logan visit www.maxim.org.nz/ri/parentslose.html

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum


NZ married men live longer

John Tamihere recently called for a Ministry of Men’s Affairs; if he was serious perhaps the first issue it could address is how to marry off more New Zealand men.

In a recent Real Issues piece we presented research from the UK which has shown that both men and women tend to die earlier if they remain single. But New Zealand figures just released by Statistics NZ to Maxim are more surprising.

Mean Age at Death of New Zealanders aged 19 years and over, by Marital Status (not including widowed, separated, divorced) during 2003

Source: Statistics New Zealand

In New Zealand during 2003 the mean age at death of married men (who lived over 19 years) was 73, that is 16 years older than the mean age of death for never married men. For women the situation is very different, the mean age at death of married women was 70 and the mean for those who never married was only six months fewer. For a woman the mean age at death is lowest amongst those who are permanently separated.

There are many factors that contribute to this difference in age of death between married and never married men. New Zealand has a high accident rate amongst men in their twenties. Men also tend to marry a couple of years later than women, so single men are more likely to be represented amongst the young accident deaths. Being married often changes people’s lifestyle and makes men more responsible so this must also play a part.

There are no guarantees when it comes to when we'll die and it's possible that the type of people who marry will live longer anyway. But the 16 year difference seems to suggest that men are likely to live longer if they get married.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum


NCEA, a pretty big gamble

Schools getting extra funding from pokies have been in the news, but while gambling may benefit schools, gambling with the education system is not the wisest of ideas.

It's usually advisable to check that something works before committing to it. When you’re looking at changing the entire New Zealand examination system, at great expense, you’d have thought this would be even more important. But when it came to introducing the NCEA this wasn't the case and it doesn’t appear that the gamble will pay off.

Howard Lee, Associate Professor at the University of Otago's Faculty of Education, this week described the NCEA as "fatally flawed". He suggests that "we are positioning high school students as guinea pigs in a bold and risky experiment" and predicts that "the shape of the NCEA in five years time will be considerably different to that of today."

The question now is whether the NCEA can be salvaged or if it's beyond redemption.

Discuss this article in our on-line discussion forum


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Civil Society talk Friday

Maxim Institute Managing Director Greg Fleming is speaking on '5 principles of Civil Society' tomorrow night in Hamilton - Friday, 17th September. Greg is guest speaker at the Liberal Forum event being held at the Hamilton Club, Grantham Street, starting at 7.30pm. Cover charge is $5.

For more information contact Joanne Reeder Tel. (07) 856 8334.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - as quoted by John Banks

If society does not condemn what is wrong, how can it teach our children what is right?

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