OFF PAT – The Runaway Dads’ $500 million Cop Out.
Cow Pat was a more polite rendition of my first thought after reading Pat Booths column — The Runaway Dads.
I know this column will have irritated and angered many in the community. To be frank it is inaccurate, poorly researched, one sided, and grossly misleading rhetoric. Its inclusion in suburban newspapers is neither a credit to the writer nor the publisher. The unnecessary and unacceptable treatment of men in New Zealand over the last 20 — 30 years is an indignity that the older generation is generally unfamiliar with, and perhaps the source of ignorance that inspired this article.
Initially I would like to outline two reasons while I reply so strongly.
Firstly the indignities to which I refer often happen to men, while they are isolated and out of sight, in the presence of the police, judges, lawyers, people whom we expect to have integrity, wisdom, impartiality, patience, understanding, consideration and a genuine concern for society. In so many cases I have seen exactly the opposite and the severe consequences of loss of identity and self esteem have raised the male suicide rate to the second leading cause of death for men in NZ, ahead of car accidents, but behind cancer.
Secondly a subsequent consequence of the issues I make reference to above can be clearly seen in our population statistics. Analysis of the most recent statistics contains many interesting anomalies; one of the most interesting is the growing imbalance over the last 20 years between the numbers of males and females between 20 and 50, which currently stands at minus 40,000 men.
Let us next separate out two issues.
First -The Runaway Dad. Personally I have no time for any man who unjustifiable fails in his responsibility to his child, and compassion for every mother who suffers the indignity of raising a child without the necessary contribution a father should and can provide, given the appropriate circumstances. I deliberately avoided the raise a child alone phrase.
Second – Child Support. If a man incurred a debt of many thousand of dollars, due to the presence of a child and having paid that debt, saw no benefit to his child, would his life not be a wasted life, and if all he did was pay his debt would his responsibilities be fulfilled. To whom — to his child, to society, to himself.
It may come as a surprise to the general public, but a large group of men have been running a child support strike for several years now, actively refusing to participate in a charade which pretends to benefit our children. The current legislation referred to as the child support act, does not deserve the valuable time of a select committee, amending what is already a failure.
The new Minister for Revenue the Hon Peter Dunne, would do this country a great service if he were to drop the hospital pass he was given by Mr. Cullen and Mr. Cunliffe, (who in no way given their behaviour in the previous administration around this issue deserve the word honourable, prefixing their names.), and introduce legislation that is both fair and workable.
The 500 million Pat Booth is so concerned about is government penalties and should they be paid would amount to a pole tax on children. A simplistic formula based calculation cannot conceivable work for both DPB situations and separated parents.
I could write much more but I would like to finish by saying this. Before we condemn all those absent fathers for their behaviour lets look a two sets of circumstances involving child support and women’s behaviour.
First, take the 18 year old girl who fancies a life on the DPB and seduces a 12 — 13 year old boy to obtain a pregnancy, and an income, and take a minute to examine the impact on that child’s life.
Second, take the mother who teaches her child to hate his or her father because she can’t hate him enough herself. Take a minute to think what it must be like to face a child who fears your presence through no fault of your own, and if you lived in a country that condoned and protected that sort of behaviour, would you want to stay there?