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MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

Tue 28th September 2004

Taboos hide same-sex violence

Filed under: Domestic Violence — JohnPotter @ 10:46 am

Experts say domestic violence is just as severe and as prevalent in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual ones, with a third of homosexual partnerships estimated to be abusive.

But a taboo exists around what the gay community calls the “second closet”, resulting in under-reporting of violence and a scarcity of support services.

Auckland’s Jo Butler, who runs one of the few programmes for lesbian victims of domestic violence, says there is an ideological reluctance from many lesbians to acknowledge women can be as abusive as men.

“I think lesbians have to get real about this,” she said.

“Nobody’s talking about it, but until we as a community face up to this, then nothing’s going to happen. It’s really hard for women coming out with this if no-one wants to hear about it.”

Her Auckland-based Breaking the Cycle programme had counselled lesbians who sustained abuse as bad as in any heterosexual relationship, including sexual violence.

Sat 25th September 2004

Concerns over Family Court media censorship powers

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 10:57 am

Government plans to give Family Court judges the power to vet media stories is a form of censorship that journalists strongly oppose, Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) New Zealand chairman Gavin Ellis said today.

Family Court proceedings would be opened to the public and media with tight restrictions in place, the Government announced yesterday.

Changes were designed to improve transparency without compromising proceedings, ministers said.

Media and others could attend hearings with the judge’s permission, while involved parties could ask for outsiders to be excluded.

Judges could direct that draft news reports be submitted to the court to check they complied with court directions.

Any breach of those directions would mean individuals were liable of three months’ imprisonment or a $2000 fine and organisations up to $10,000 in fines.

Sat 18th September 2004

Secrecy No Answer To Domestic Violence

Filed under: Domestic Violence — domviol @ 11:16 am

Dr Muriel Newman – Press Releases – Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today predicted that New Zealand would never be able to reduce its levels of domestic violence so long as the Family Court protects perpetrators behind closed doors.

“On Radio New Zealand today, Chief Family Court Judge Peter Boshier explained that an open Family Court could impact badly on children in violent families,” Dr Newman said.

“But, by dealing with domestic violence in private, the Family Court is effectively protecting perpetrators of a particularly reprehensible act from the scrutiny of a public that has little tolerance for such a crime, and allowing false allegations to remain untested.

“The question must also be asked as to why these cases are not then referred to the District Court, so that the offenders can be brought to justice – rather than allowing domestic violence to be swept under the carpet as part of a custody and access dispute.

“The Family Court should be an open court. Those who seek to protect the court’s privacy are hindering citizens’ right to open justice,” Dr Newman said.


Fri 17th September 2004

Batman protest admired by NZ group

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 10:07 am

Fathers in New Zealand are waiting for their own Batman to raise awareness for their cause.

A man dressed as the caped crusader has drawn world wide attention for the plight of dads estranged from their children after staging a five hour protest perched on a ledge at Buckingham Palace.

The Union of Fathers here says they are watching the activities of their British counterparts with interest and admiration.

Spokesman Darrell Carlin says his group has moved from protesting to lobbying, but he is not ruling out similar stunts being staged in New Zealand.

BBC News report and photos of Batman protest.

Audio Report: Newstalk ZB UK correspondent Gavin Grey talks to Paul Holmes about the high profile protest by a Fathers’ Rights campaigner who scaled Buckingham Palace dressed as Batman.

Tue 14th September 2004

Let our boys be boys, says Tamihere

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,General — JohnPotter @ 9:30 am

John Tamihere has again defended boys’ rights to be boys.

The Youth Affairs minister has attacked the media’s portrayal of boys as “problems” and society’s failure to recognise their differences.

He told the New Zealand Family Daycare Association conference in Rotorua last night: “We are told their behaviour needs to be controlled, managed or handled. It’s as if boys are ticking time bombs – it won’t be long before their latent criminal behaviour is unleashed on the unsuspecting public, or the testosterone surging through their bodies renders them incapable of any rational thought.”

Tamihere – whose “red-blooded Kiwi men” speech was seen as a ploy to win back the bloke vote – said that not recognising boys’ differences from girls’ came at a cost when boys were under-performing in educational areas.

“I want to make one thing clear – boys are not the problem. It’s time to stop blaming them.” He said most boys and young men could “deal with their hormones”.

“As a society, it’s time to show our boys we are proud of them and who they are. Let’s drop the blame mentality of the past. Let’s focus on their potential.

“For so long we have been blaming our young men – yet it is our behaviour they are reproducing.”

Following on from his red-blooded bloke speech when he attacked political correctness, saying heterosexual men needed to re-assert themselves, Tamihere reiterated the need for positive male role models.

“In a boy’s life, their father is often the most significant figure. Yet for many boys today, finding a male to look up to and seek guidance from is not an easy task.”

Tamihere said one in three boys lived apart from their fathers. A mere 18 per cent of primary teachers were men. The minister has long been a defender of men’s rights to be men. Last September he told the Sunday Star-Times that blokes shouldn’t be afraid to leave the toilet seat up or have a beer with mates at the pub.

He said too much suspicion was cast over men in matters such as marriage break-ups, child custody rights and allegations of impropriety.

“Basically, I’m sick of men having to apologise for having a penis,” he said last year. “Look at what goes on in the family court, that is a system that always presumes the man is guilty.”

Sat 11th September 2004

BSA upholds Peter Ellis Nine to Noon complaint

Filed under: General,Sex Abuse / CYF — JohnPotter @ 2:24 pm

The Broadcasting Standards Authority today released a decision upholding a complaint from Peter Ellis about an interview conducted on National Radio’s Nine to Noon programme in August 2003.

The BSA ordered Radio New Zealand to pay $5,300 legal costs to the complainant, to broadcast an apology on Nine to Noon, to publish a summary of the decision in the four major metropolitan daily newspapers, and to pay the maximum level of costs to the Crown of $5,000.

During the broadcast an anonymous mother and son were interviewed. They made new, unspecified allegations concerning Mr Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Crèche in 1985, which had not been part of the court proceedings concerning the Crèche.

The BSA ruled that the broadcast seriously breached standards of fairness and balance. It noted that Mr Ellis was being anonymously accused of criminal but unspecified offending of a very serious kind. Mr Ellis had previously declined an invitation to participate in a ‘sympathetic’ interview. He had not been made aware of the new allegations before they were broadcast. Even so the allegations were so vague they would have been impossible to defend.

With regard to balance, the BSA noted that the allegations made by the interviewees were neither substantiated nor critically examined by the broadcaster. In any case the nature and type of allegations would have made balance very difficult to achieve.

In its decision, the BSA said: “Mr Ellis has been convicted of and has served a prison sentence for sexual offences…. He is nonetheless a citizen of this country and, like all other citizens, is entitled to be treated justly and fairly. The Authority notes its deep concern at what amounted to a serious disregard for Mr Ellis’s rights.”

Other possible penalties able to be imposed by the BSA include requiring the broadcaster to cease broadcasting for a period. The BSA did not invoke this option as it did not see an overriding merit in disadvantaging the programme’s usual audience. As Radio New Zealand is a non-commercial broadcaster the BSA could not impose the other major penalty (previously imposed on other broadcasters), that of requiring the broadcaster to cease broadcasting advertising for a period.

A copy of the decision is available here. In line with its usual policy, the BSA will not be making any further comment.

Fri 10th September 2004

DPB Recovery is not Child Support

Filed under: Child Support,General — Scrap_The_CSA @ 2:30 pm

Maharey defends penalty on solo mums

Media Release

10 September 2004

Jim Nicolle
NZ Child Support Reform Network

DPB recovery is not Child Support

“Given the fundamental flaws of the Child Support Act 1991, it is not surprising that mothers refuse to lodge a so call Child Support application,” commented Jim Nicolle, spokesperson for the New Zealand Child Support Reform Network.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. The Child Support Act 1991 is focused on collecting money, not on supporting our children, and is nothing more than a tax applied to ‘liable’ parents. The bulk of this child tax is extracted to the consolidated fund to ‘recover’ the DPB.

“A parent can be paying thousands of dollars a year in compulsory assessment, via this unfair and unreasonable regime, knowing that it never reaches their children.

“Labour should be honest and admit that this legislation is failing our children, depriving them of a financial future, and placing them at risk that can be avoided, ” Nicolle stated.

“Parents do not object to supporting their children, they do object to being viewed as working chequebooks by the Labour Government. Its time this dated and fundamentally flawed Child Support Regime was replaced by a fair and reasonable child support system that focused on supporting our children, not benefit recovery, ” concluded Nicolle.

Jim Nicolle Co-ordinator
NZ Child Support Reform Network
Wellington regional contact.
(04) 586-0880
(021) 452-628

NZCSReform is a network of groups and individuals working in their area
of interest, to bring about a fair and reasonable child support system
replacing the current unfair and unreasonable Child Support Regime.

Govt rejects law commission view that structural change needed

Filed under: Law & Courts — domviol @ 2:17 pm

The Government is not convinced major changes to the structure of courts are needed but has ordered officials to look into this further.

However, Justice Minister Phil Goff and Courts Minister Rick Barker said its focus was first on improving efficiency in the courts system rather than planning radical changes to its structure.

The Government yesterday released its response to a report by the Law Commission that recommended a raft of measures aimed at making the courts simpler, quicker and cheaper for those going through them.

The commission released its report in March.

Among its many recommendations was axing the district court and replacing it with a community court to deal with minor cases — the prime reason for many of the current backlogs — and specialist criminal and civil courts to deal with more serious cases.

Tue 7th September 2004

A Men’s Affairs Ministry?

Filed under: Child Support,General — Scrap_The_CSA @ 2:59 pm

Labour tells us ” its on the radar” .The ACT Party responds with a call to “scrap the Ministry of Women’s Affairs” .

Let me take you back to Monday 6 September :

Over tea last night Jim, Kerry, Jack and myself discussed the Men’s Picnic on fathers day at Parliament. It was a great day full of fun and clowns,face painting, balloon’s, radio controlled cars, soccer, frisbees, lollie scrambles, sausages in sauce,music and fizzy. It was a day when some fathers where able to celebrate their fatherhood with their children. Be it balloon sword fights or or cooking the sausages together. I know my little man had a ball and will remember the picnic for a long time.

Not all dads who came had the opportunity to spend fathers day with their children. A number had been deprived of their children by the outdated, adversarial system of Family Law in our country. A system that fuels existing conflict and creates conflict where none exists. All the while tearing families apart and stripping away “liable parents” and their children’s financial future via “Child Support”. Everyone knows that New Zealand Family Law is a failed social experiment in need of real reform.

The fatherlessness of our children is a very worrying social trend. Kids need dads. Parents are demanding a system of shared parenting. Equal parents, jointly making decisions and sharing the care of our children.

It was a Fathers Day picnic on Parliament grounds , the start of a tradition that will continue for a long time. One day it will be a celebration of real reform of Family Law and the Child Support Act. The fesivity did carry a subtle message. Men have identified who has the power to bring about the radical change required to redress the balance. Political Parties have been put on notice.

Which brings us back to the current debate.


Scrap women’s affairs ministry – ACT

Filed under: General — JohnPotter @ 11:23 am

The ACT Party has a way to deal with John Tamihere’s suggestion for a ministry of men’s affairs — even things up by scrapping the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

ACT MP Heather Roy said Mr Tamihere was right when he said men were not treated the same as women.

“But rather than setting up a ministry of men’s affairs we should even things up by simply scrapping the Women’s Affairs Ministry,” she said in a statement.

“The ministry does nothing for women but tell them that the white, middle-class heterosexual male is to blame for everything — all the while treating women with patronising sympathy and telling them they need closer relationships with the Government.”

CYF minders tail 11 Christchurch teens

Filed under: Sex Abuse / CYF — JohnPotter @ 11:19 am

Eleven troubled Christchurch teens are being tailed at school by government-funded minders because of concerns about their aggressive and sexually inappropriate behaviour.

The minders are paid by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) to accompany the students to school each day, sit next to them in class and follow them around the playground to ensure that they do not behave in ways which could have them expelled.

Most of the eight boys and five girls with minders are living in CYF care; some are completing rehabilitation programmes for juvenile sex abusers.

Attrill said trackers were not trained social workers, and were employed on a casual basis, after undergoing a police check, for an average hourly rate of $15.

Schools must report abuse ‘to save lives’

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Sex Abuse / CYF — JohnPotter @ 11:14 am


The father of slain six-year-old schoolgirl Coral-Ellen Burrows believes mandatory reporting – repeatedly ruled out by successive governments – could have saved his daughter…

Under mandatory reporting regimes overseas, teachers and doctors must report instances of suspected child abuse, but efforts to introduce that here have been rejected by both National and Labour governments.

CYF Minister Ruth Dyson confirmed the government had no plans to introduce it in the future.

But a former Commissioner for Children and advocate of mandatory reporting, Roger McClay, said even the slightest suspicion of abuse should be acted on. If one child’s life was saved for every nine false alarms, he said, “so be it”.

Mon 6th September 2004

Ministry for men on political radar screen – Tamihere

Filed under: General — domviol @ 10:41 am


A ministry of men’s affairs could be set up to deal with serious men’s issues, says Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere.

He was commenting on a call to set up a ministry made by organisers of a men’s rights picnic that marked Father’s Day with a protest at Parliament yesterday.

“I think the concept of a men’s affairs ministry is on the radar screen,” Mr Tamihere said. “I think we’ve got to have a far more intelligent conversation about men’s health, welfare and performance issues generally.”

Sun 5th September 2004

Plunket Congratulates Dedicated Dads

Filed under: General — domviol @ 12:14 pm

Plunket is celebrating Father’s Day by congratulating the men who are making their children a priority in their lives.

“When we consider the short and long-term benefits to children of having both parents fully involved in their care and upbringing, it is clear that society will also ultimately benefit,” says Erin Beatson, clinical advisor with Plunket.

“International research 1 supports what we all know to be true – that fathers make a real difference in child development outcomes for both boys and girls, especially with self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, the capacity to love and be loved, and the ability to participate in society.

“Plunket acknowledges the difficulties for many parents of achieving this, but it is exciting to see fathers themselves wanting things to change,” she says.

Sat 4th September 2004

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Tamihere

Filed under: General — domviol @ 2:55 pm

Dr Muriel Newman – Press Releases – Social Welfare

If Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere is so concerned with Kiwi boys lacking adequate role models, then why doesn’t he put his money where his mouth is, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman challenged today.

“Mr Tamihere is right: many boys in sole-parent families do lack suitable male role models. But if he were truly sincere, he would have acknowledged that one of the biggest contributors to this problem is our flawed Family Law,” Dr Newman said.

Thu 2nd September 2004

Saving Our Children With An Open Family Court

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 11:09 am

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today urged Chief Family Court Judge Peter Boshier to continue his push for more openness in the Family Court.

“The Care of Children Bill currently before Parliament is a step in the right direction towards greater openness, but it does not go far enough. As Judge Boshier is aware: if we want to stop child abuse, then the true stories that the court hears on a daily basis of what happens in violent households must be exposed.”

“Only when we have a Family Court that is open to public scrutiny will the hard facts be known, and the problems recognised by the wider public.”

Wed 1st September 2004

Areas chosen for Family Safety Team pilot

Filed under: Domestic Violence — JohnPotter @ 11:01 am

A pilot programme aimed at reducing domestic violence will see Family Safety Teams established in Wairarapa/Hutt Valley, Auckland/Hamilton, Christchurch, and Counties Manukau, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today…

“While family violence reports may initially increase with greater awareness of effective services, the initiative is expected to reduce family violence.

“The new services will focus on high-risk situations and put in place preventive measures.” Mr Goff said the four sites had been chosen by a steering committee comprising representatives of relevant government agencies and the non-government agencies Women’s Refuge, Stopping Violence Services, Child Abuse Prevention Services, and Northern
Regional Advisory Group…

Funding of $15.2 million over four years was made available in this year’s Budget, and the teams’ work will be evaluated over a three-year period.

Care of Children Bill select committee report

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 10:16 am

The select committee report on the Care of Children Bill is now available (as a pdf).

Children to get say in custody battles

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 9:54 am

Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier says the Care of Children Bill before Parliament will see more children being heard directly in court and their views given more weight.

Judges had traditionally not welcomed directly interviewing children in Family Court cases, preferring to learn their wishes through psychologists’ reports, Judge Boshier said yesterday.

But many children were able to express their wishes and should be given the ability to do so, he told a Psychological Society seminar on the Family Court.

A recent High Court ruling on a Family Court case emphasised that the wishes of children should primarily be heard through an interview by the judge or via the lawyer appointed to represent the child in court.

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