Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Polygamous Marriage: Is Govt Bending The Rules?

MEDIA RELEASE

17 February 2017

Polygamous Marriage: Is Govt Bending The Rules?

Family First NZ is concerned that the government may be turning a ‘blind eye’ to polygamous marriages in New Zealand when assessing entitlements to welfare support.

The issue has come to light with a recent serious domestic violence case where the offender is legally married to the victim, with whom he has three New Zealand-born children, as well as a second "wife" whom he married in a religious ceremony.

Family First is concerned that immigrants or refugees who enter New Zealand in existing polygamous marriages are not being held to New Zealand's legal definition of marriage, and that benefit-eligibility rules may be being ignored. This indicates that the government may be indirectly endorsing polygamists arrangements.

In an Official Information Act response just received by Family First, the Ministry of Social Development said:

"Multiple marriages are not recognised under the Social Security Act and should such a circumstance arise where a person applied for a benefit with multiple 'wives', the Ministry would only be able to treat one wife as being married to the man (or to be living in a relationship in the nature of marriage with the man) at any one time. As such the other 'wives' would be regarded for benefit purposes as being either single or sole parents, depending on their individual circumstances." (our emphasis added)

“However, second (or third or more) polygamous wives are living in 'the nature of marriage'. The Ministry needs to explain why these females are not subject to the same investigation processes and fraud prosecutions as all other females. Additionally, why is the husband not subject to new laws that hold the partner of a fraudulent sole parent equally liable to prosecution?” asks Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The National government promised to clamp down on benefit fraud, particularly relationship fraud. In 2013, then Associate Minister for Social Development, Chester Borrows said, "Relationship fraud is when someone is receiving a benefit that is dependent on them being single, such as a sole parent support - the old DPB - yet they are in a marriage-type relationship."

“It appears that the Ministry is quite prepared to break its own rules when it comes to other-culture polygamous marriages. This means the taxpayer has to pick up the tab for this 'leniency'. It flies in the face of the current government's assurances that abuse of welfare would not be tolerated.”

“It also ignores the well-documented harms of polygamist ‘marriages’ which should be discouraged – not given special treatment and subsidised by the state,” says Mr McCoskrie.

In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the ban on polygamy, stating that;

There is no such thing as so-called “good polygamy”.

Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm. They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse. Competition for material and emotional access to a shared husband can lead to fractious co-wife relationships. These factors contribute to the higher rates of depressive disorders and other mental health issues that women in polygamous relationships face…. They tend to have less autonomy, and report higher rates of marital dissatisfaction and lower levels of self-esteem. They also fare worse economically, as resources may be inequitably divided or simply insufficient.

Children tend to suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement than children in monogamous families. Children are also at enhanced risk of psychological and physical abuse and neglect.

Polygamy also institutionalizes gender inequality. Patriarchal hierarchy and authoritarian control are common features of polygamous communities. Individuals in polygynous societies tend to have fewer civil liberties than their counterparts in societies which prohibit the practice.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>

ALSO:

NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog