A Men’s Affairs Ministry?
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 A number had been deprived of their children by the outdated, adversarial system of Family Law in our country.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.
Would scrapping the Ministry of Women’s Affairs be enough to counteract the damage done by the poor quality of policy advice delivered to politicians by this organisation over the years? Is a Ministry of Men’s Affairs required?
I do know that the “Shadow Ministry of Mens Affairs” introduced themselves to the woman of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs on Monday 6 September.
The question of a Ministry of Men’s Affairs has been placed on the Agenda. It will be debated and men will decide on its merits. Major political parties continue to ignore the calls for Family Law and Child Support Reform. Not tinkering, but real reform that gives New Zealand a 21st century solution that treats all parents as equal parents, and joint decision makers who share the care of their children.
But before everyone is seduced by the blip on Labour’s radar screen lets look at the track record of Politicians.
Let’s weigh up the track record. Consistently the ACT Party has spoken in support of men, particularly separated fathers. Labour is new to the block and very slow at actually doing anything to back up the talk.
The ACT Party Deputy Leader, Muriel Newman has consistently championed men’s issues, consider what Muriel says about fatherlessness.
To reduce the growing rate of fatherlessness, family law must be reformed: our out-dated and devastatingly unfair child support laws need to be overhauled, and shared parenting introduced as a priority.
Just as two parents are equal before a relationship breaks down, so too under shared parenting they are equal afterwards – unless one is proven to be unfit.
Under shared parenting, children who are the victims of familybreakdown have the certainly of knowing that – once the dust settles – they will still have a mum and dad to love and support them on an ongoing basis.
An equal joint shared parenting model, similar to the model proposed by the Shared Parenting Council Of Australia would go a long way toward providing a real parenting solution for the 21st Century.
The 2005 election is looming and action to date shows that Men will be putting their issues on the political agenda.
The Men’s Coalition, that grew out of Men’s Convoy 2004 was formally launched at the MENZ Table conference in Taupo in July, is proving that Men from all different areas of interest can work together. The goals are clear and we will not be going away until the goals are achieved.
The target of our actions will be the party vote and certain politicians who need to listen. We will encourage men to look at a political party’s track record and cast the party vote for those with a track record of providing real solutions to the issues men face
Here is the initial judgement
Labour- John T talks nice “blokey” words, but lets look at the track record. Where do you start? Care of Children bill? Child Support? Family Court
National: Talks a lot about open courts but still wants more child tax from separated parents. We have not forgotten who gave us a lot of this current mess!
United Future: Some small percentage points. What’s the Families Commission delivered? Peter Dunne has for reform of the Child Support Act.
The Greens : Too busy smoking gunga to engage?
The Progressive Party : Don’t here a lot from Jim and Co these days.
The Act Party: Has the track record and Muriel Newman (Deputy Leader) remains the strongest advocate for Family law and Child Support Reform in Parliament.
A system to rate Political Parties and their commitment to men’s Issues is currently being developed by the Men’s Coalition. It will be used to rate the Politicians prior to election 2005.
Men cannot let the voices that speak for real reform be driven from our House of Representatives. Men will take this message to the streets, to our workplaces, to our partners, to our churches, to our sports teams. We know that our party vote is important to Politicians, they will have to earn it.
I beleive that there are large number of men who will cast their party votes to the strongest advocates of real reform. The “mens vote” is undervalued, political parties ignore us at their own peril.
A departure from my usual Child Support Column, there is some overlap. The value of the party Vote is well understood by Child Tax reformers as is the ability to network and form alliances with groups and individuals with similar interests. The issues faced by parents affected by “Child Support” are all around the Family Law System.
Time for politicians to do so maths!
Keep the comments flowing,
Scrap the CSA>