INDEPENDENT NEWS

Child Support Priorities Wrong

Published: Fri 22 Jun 2001 03:41 PM
"The Government's announcement that it will be raising child support levels sends a clear signal that it only values fathers as cash cows and not as real parents", FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward said today. He was commenting on Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's announcement that child support levels would increase.
"Obviously parents should support their children financially. However, children need a positive and loving relationship with both of their biological parents just as much as they need financial support. Our current destructive family law system ensures that most of the children of separated parents only have one parent to care for them.
"We are constantly told of an epidemic of fathers walking out on their children. The vast majority of New Zealand children who do not have their father actively involved with their lives did not have their fathers walk out on them. These men were forced out. Our adversarial family law system encourages this to happen.
"Indeed, most absent fathers who enjoy a meaningful relationship with their children willingly pay child support. Defaulters are mainly those who have effectively had their children stolen from them.
"It is obvious to us that the best way to raise child support compliance is to legislate to ensure that children do not miss out on one of their parents as happens now. The Government must restore some dignity to "liable" parents. Then they will not be so reluctant to feed the hand that bites them.
"If the Government was genuinely concerned with the welfare of children, it would have solved these problems by adopting the provisions of Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill. Instead they have chosen to conduct a meaningless review that does not even touch the root of the problem. This review is a window dressing exercise that will achieve little of value, just like the child support hikes.
"Until we have a Government that puts the best interests children ahead of gender politics, children will continue to suffer needlessly", concluded Ward.
ends

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