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Quarter of DNA tests show man not the father


Monday, 19 November 2007

Quarter of DNA tests show man not the father

Data from an Australian DNA testing firm showing that a quarter of all men who submitted DNA samples were found not to be the biological father, draws attention to the legal anomaly in New Zealand, where the Family Court is powerless to order paternity testing.

“These figures show that a quarter of men who have enough suspicion to want a DNA test are not the father of children in question,” says UnitedFuture MP Judy Turner.

“It’s unfathomable that in New Zealand our Family Court is powerless to order paternity tests when parentage is in doubt. It’s a glaring oversight that Labour is unwilling to fix, and deliberately ignores a Law Commission recommendation.”

Mrs Turner has a member’s Bill in the ballot that would empower the Family Court to order paternity tests. She has offered to give the drafted Bill to the Minister for Courts Rick Barker, who declined because the issue was “not a priority for him” according to Mrs Turner.

“Both the man and the children involved have an absolute right to know whether they are father and child.

“Paternity tests are cheap, easy and available - and yet unless the mother agrees, an estranged father has no right to prove whether he is or is not the parent,” says Mrs Turner.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of men in New Zealand who are raising and paying for children who are not theirs. There are necessarily about the same number of men again who have children they do not know about, and whose children will never know them as their biological father.

“If Labour really cares about families, they would empower the Family Court to order paternity tests to create certainly where doubt currently resides,” says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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