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Father Report is Reality Check for Government

1 November 2007

Father Report is Reality Check for Government Policy

Family First NZ is welcoming a report from Maxim Institute entitled Going Further with Fathers, which found that an actively involved father can have positive effects on a child’s behaviour, emotional security, educational achievement and their development of social skills.

“The report underlines the central message that family structure, and the input of mums and dads both individually and jointly, contribute to the wellbeing of our children. This finding and the huge weight of research supporting it flies in the face of the message from the government that family structure doesn’t matter,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This flawed approach by government has been supported by a welfare system that can render men superfluous and with no obligation on the mother to name the father, the inability of a father under the Family Proceedings Act to demand a paternity test to prove he is the biological father, and the perceived bias of the closed Family Court where custody of children is given to mothers in 64.5% of cases and to fathers in only 11.5% of cases.”

“We also have minimal paid parental leave for fathers (especially compared to some European countries), and a complete lack of will to make fathers pay child support, thereby allowing them to shirk their responsibilities both economically and emotionally.”

“It is also significant that as we try to stem the rising tide of child abuse and deaths, many of the tragic cases which have grabbed national attention – Delcelia Witika, James Whakaruru, Mereana Edwards, Lillybing Karaitiana-Matiaha Tangaroa Matiu, Tamato Pokaia, Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jensen, Coral Burrows, and Nia Glassie – have all had in common the absence of the biological father,” says Mr McCoskrie.

With over 80% of single parent families headed by the mother, this report highlights the urgent need for fathers to be encouraged, required, and equipped to step up to the mark of being the father that children need and want.

“Unfortunately, it is likely that this report will fall on deaf ears,” says Mr McCoskrie, “firstly because of its promotion of marriage as a way of increasing the chances that children will experience the active involvement of their father and the government’s ideological allergic reaction to that message, and secondly because the report has come from the Maxim Institute.”

“Sadly, the government will simply attack the messenger without digesting the very important message contained in this report.”



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