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Celebrating Families

Celebrating Families 16 December 2003

Judith Collins National Party Family Spokesperson

The Government is spending $28 million of taxpayers' money on a Families Commission that will not make life any better for one single child or family. The Families Commission reflects the payment of a debt - a debt owed by Labour to United Future for supporting the forming of a coalition government. The Minister of Social Welfare, Steve Maharey, has said, "I know of no social science that says the nuclear family is more successful than other kinds." His opinion is illustrated in the Families Commission Act, which defines a family as almost anything other than Mum, Dad and the kids. He is wrong as shown by study after study.

Children need love, care, commitment, education, health, boundaries and discipline. They need to know that they belong to a family and wherever possible, it is best that they have two great parents. Even if parents are no longer together, that is no reason for children to lose their non-custodial parent. We all know many sole parents who are outstanding role models for their children. My own grandmother was just one - she was left with 7 children to bring up during the Great Depression when my grandfather walked out. We also all know that it is an enormous burden and that wherever possible, a child needs an active father and an active mother, not just a Christmas card. We don't need to spend $28 million to find that out. Yet the Families Commission Act contains not one word supporting Mum, Dad and the kids.

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Instead of wasting taxpayers' money on politically correct nonsense, I have suggested a few other ways to spend the money:

• • 5.6 million hours of free childcare

• • 2.18 million Plunket Line enquiries

• • 357,379 booster seats

• • 5.3 million hours of Early Childhood Education for under 2s

• • 55,000 inquiries by the Office of the Commissioner for Children

• • 2.9 million 20 packs of baby nappies

• • more than triple the amount of funding available for the Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) programme

• • 1.8 million free Births, Deaths and Marriages enquiries to help people trace their families

There are over 16,000 women in this country who can't or won't name the father(s) of their children. That's at least 16,000 children unable to be sure of their parentage, and at least 16,000 children who are being told that their whakapapa - their heritage - isn't worth the trouble of naming the father. I think that is a disgrace and an indictment on how little value is placed on fatherhood. With today's DNA testing, there is no excuse.

If you would like to know more about my views on family, I suggest that you read the December- January issue of NZ Today. I trust you will all have a lovely family break over the holiday season. Merry Christmas.

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