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NZBR Publishes Study on Family Issues

NZBR Publishes Study on Family Issues

The New Zealand Business Roundtable (NZBR) vice-chair Diane Foreman announced today the publication of a new book on the state of the family and family policies in New Zealand.

Family Matters: Family Breakdown and its Consequences was written by Patricia Morgan, Senior Research Fellow at Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society in London. The book was commissioned by the Business Roundtable to document family policy changes in New Zealand and their impact on the institution of the family.

Patricia Morgan concludes that, “using all of the standard indicators, the family is now in a worse state in New Zealand than almost anywhere else. The situation of Maori is a particular cause for concern. It is comparable to that of American blacks, amongst whom, in large areas, the family based on marriage has virtually disappeared.”

The book reports a large body of research that finds that the traditional family – the married couple and their dependent children living together in their own home – is generally best for children, parents and society.

The author attributes the increased incidence of family breakdown in New Zealand in large part to changed incentives arising from changes in such areas as welfare policies (especially the Domestic Purposes Benefit), taxation and family law, as well as changes in social attitudes, particularly those influenced by some versions of feminism. She calls for greater support for public policies which signal that family stability is important for children and society as a whole.

Diane Foreman said that the Business Roundtable was interested in social policy because it was important for the well-being of all New Zealanders.

“This is a follow-up to a book published by the NZBR in 1996, From Welfare State to Civil Society: Towards Welfare that Works in New Zealand by David Green. Like its predecessor, Family Matters: Family Breakdown and its Consequences is a thorough and thought-provoking study. We are pleased to publish it as a contribution to debate on a vital topic."


Family Matters: Family Breakdown and its Consequences is available for purchase on the New Zealand Business Roundtable website at To enquire about review copies, please contact the NZBR communications advisor David Young at .

About the Author: Patricia Morgan, Senior Research Fellow in the Family at London-based Civitas: The Institute for the Study of Civil Society, is a sociologist specialising in criminology and family policy. She is the author or co-author of a number of books about issues involving the family.

An op-ed by Patricia Morgan about the state of the family in New Zealand appeared in this morning's NZ Herald. It is available on the NZBR website at

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