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

The Hard Road to Reform.

Filed under: Child Support,General,Law & Courts — Downunder @ 12:41 pm Tue 13th September 2005

No progress without struggle as they say, however we are yet to achieve any reform in child support legislation – (and given the latest legislation tabled in the house just before the election recess, it is fair to say we are still in retreat.)

I have to look back at the Family Court Campaign. That’s what it was – a hard fought campaign over several years. There is enough dirt in family court cases to sink the ship; however the tactics of Patrick Mahoney always managed to keep it afloat. He wasn’t one for just sweeping the dirt under the carpet, and hoping it never surfaced. He was a little more subtle than that. When a dangerous case arose — like the Rolly Young case for example – he would send in an investigator, one of his trusted allies to clean up. His team was quaintly referred to as “Mahoney’s vacuum cleaners”, because they went in to suck up the dirt rather than bury it. Of course, there are some cases like the Rolly Young case that you can never clean your finger prints off, because this is a case that required more than the work of an investigator – the collusion of a Judge.

You could always tell when there was a bad egg about. With monotonous regularity you would hear the same name popping up. It was like phone calls from the Hawkes Bay. They always had the name Von Dadelzen attached. As I never had a great number of calls from the region, there was never a move amongst the locals to form a lobby group and they remained somewhat isolated cases. When the Rolly Young case was suddenly moved to Napier, I became a little more suspicious.

Earlier this year I attended a public meeting in Napier, and to my surprise found the biggest anti family court meeting I had ever come across. The name in the centre of it all of course was Von Dadelzen. Somehow he had managed to keep the lid on the pressure cooking, but not now, it had just blown off. This certainly attracted the attention of the current principal family court Judge Boshier, who I have no doubt would be well aware of can of worms that could be opened up in the Hawkes Bay. Judge Boshier took the proactive step of bursting into print in the local Napier Paper to defend his court, and was quick to sideline Von Dadelzen by sending in several other Judges to preside over cases in Napier.

Since the inception of the Care of Children Bill, the court has come clean over some cases, with the odd letter of apology, and even the reversal of custody in some long running cases.

Of course there are some cases like the Rolly Young case that go well beyond the ambit of apology. You can tell there is a bit of clean up going on when you get phone calls from lawyers asking for dirt on other lawyers and psychologists, and I am sure one or two will get hung out to dry, just for good looks. Napier may however be a different story — One thing the family court cannot afford is for the name Von Dadelzen to become a household name, outside of Napier, as it may well bring some light to the goings on in the Rolly Young case, and how it ever ended up in the Napier Family court in first place.

This is not so much about child support, but about the co operation and effort required to achieve reform. It doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen.

Bevan Berg
NZ Republicans.


  1. Child Support reformers are already united, with a clear plan and a goal. Reform is on its way, and we are prepared for the fight! In fact we fight it nationally every day with great success.
    Its more about vision than unity, common vision provides unity!

    You may be in retreat Bevan, but a large number of us have a plan and the unity and resources and knowledge to achieve it. Vision is the key!

    We also have the solution – Shared parenting and fair and reasonable child support.In fact we have the model ready for release at a time that most suits the plan.

    Co-operation in CS reform has been achived via the Parents for Children ( banner. Its a coperation of parents, both paying and reciving CS who will fight to roll the current model because as parents we know what is best for our kids.

    You can make it happen by joining Parents for Children and coperating with those advocating real reform. They will make it happen!


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 1:52 pm

  2. The last time I spoke with you James, you told me you expected the child support reform process to take 9 years. Given the number of fathers that will give up and commit suicide in that time, that doesn’t work for me. I not trying to compete with your organisation, in fact I often refer people to you, including a reporter recently who wanted information on the current legislation, but as far as I am concerned as long as IRD puts mens lives at risk through the ruthless collection of this so called child support, we are in retreat. I can well remember the day when we were protesting outside the Auckland Family court and a Family Court Barrister stopped and said “I don’t believe it, another one of my clients just committed suicide.” Too many people live their lives with the pilosophy that if I am just doing my job its alright. If you don’t have individual responsibility you will never have collective responsibility, and I will be much happier holding individuals to account while you campaign for reform.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 2:45 pm

  3. Bevan,

    Lets be clear that when I talk reform I mean total and radical reform. The current CS Act (and IRD administering it) gone and replaced with Shared Parenting and fair and reasonable CS : Equal parents-Equal responsibility.

    I have many people through my door who are at the end of there tether and see no way out. Its the task of the reformer to show them there is a way out of this opression,real law change.The vanquished can be turned into the victor.

    I understand your frustarion over “accountability” .Once again I dont agree with all you say,but at least you are engendering debate and discussion and that is a very positive thing.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 3:42 pm

  4. “debate and discussion” are all very well, but as one of the [many] Fathers afflicted with this tax on my children, action is needed and not pussy-footing around with individual political agendas.

    Somehow, all of us need to be pushing the same message to the politicians and the public servants so as the message gets through. Nine years is too long, but nine years is much better than another 20+ years of uncaring bureaucratic emasculation of parents in New Zealand.

    And, Scrap The CSA, I agree with you: the whole lot must go and as many idiots like cun[silent T]liffe need to be sunk with the ship!

    Comment by Sparx — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 5:57 pm

  5. Bevan,

    I must concur wholeheartedly with Scrap’s orderly thinking on this. You mention 9 years, but offer no other path to a “reliable and robust” result. Your post certainly contains nothing to suggest a possible alternative.

    Like Scrap, I also assist numbers of people with their child support issues – some of whom may fall into the “at risk” category – part of the responsibility I accept is to show them a better outcome for their children.

    Suicide is an “easy out” and leaves the children bereft of a parent, but, as there is currently no established causal link between child support and suicide in New Zealand, your posturing about it is just that.

    And you may be “in retreat”, but there are many others who are organised, united and executing their carefully considered strategy with a view to achieving significant reform of child support in New Zealand. And we understand that reform may take time to achieve, but it will be achieved.

    And again, your post does not deal with anything concrete relating to “child support”: you need to be much more objective as to how you categorise your posts so the rest of us are able to use this forum without the frustration of having to trawl through these political platitudes.

    Regards, Mark Shipman

    Comment by MarkS — Wed 14th September 2005 @ 5:56 pm

  6. It’s been well documented in psychological literature on suicide that there are 2 major factors which lead to suicide.
    One is loss of a sense of identity.
    The other is loss of a sense of community.
    (visit the Mental Health Foundation for info on this) It is precisely these 2 losses which are incurred by a father who is simultaneously stripped of wife, child, and by extension half an extended family. Added to this he is often forced to relocate to another dwelling place and may have to change jobs to make contact with his child/ren (further compounding loss of community).
    Having been through precisely this scenario first hand it’s easy for me to believe there are causal links between institutionally promoted fatherlessness and male suicide.
    I say this because in addition to having read the literature I mention above, I also know that when my marriage came apart and my son was taken from me I subsequently went through periods of depression and contemplated suicide. That lasted for many years.
    I therefore fear that if there isn’t change in Child Support legislation which helps to bring about an end to the dreadful misandrist defathering of NZ kids I can reasonably expect more depressed dads and inevitably some will sadly suicide.

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 17th September 2005 @ 4:20 am

  7. Stephen,

    Many thanks for your clear response. I always appreciate your considered input to the MENZ posts I review. Your background and breadth of experience are, I feel, invaluable to all of us here.

    My loss is two sons and a daughter; all of whom are very precious to me. And I also understand the ongoing depression and repeated contemplation of “options” – of which suicide was one.

    Four years down the track, the depression is still with me, but in a more manageable form and suicide is now a very infrequent feature in my “options”.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with your comments about the “institutionally promoted” de-parenting of Kiwi Kids through depression (resulting from separation) that leads to suicide. To our Kiwi Kids this is akin to a double-whammy because they have first to suffer the trauma of their world being rent asunder during the separation and then the loss of a parent – in many cases their Dad.

    At this juncture, however, there is no established causal link between child support and parental suicide.

    I am very interested in assisting any well-structured research that seeks to establish just such a causal link.

    In the meantime, I do what I am able to assist parents with child support issues and to help them realise that suicide is not the best outcome for their child(ren).

    Concurrently, we (Parents for Children) seek total reform of the child support system and the Family Court through a change to a presumption of shared parenting and the implementation of a “fair and reasonable” child support system.

    Stay healthy and happy,

    Mark Shipman

    Comment by MarkS — Sun 18th September 2005 @ 9:37 pm

  8. “Child Support” is NOT the sole issue here:
    Mark and others keep returning the debate to ‘Child Support’ as if this is a one-issue forum. I am seeing this discussion on the MENZ site, which is for “News and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.”
    Please permit these threads to develop as the participants wish, please do not condemn contributions as “Not relevant to Child Support”.

    In war, the wise learn all they can about their enemies, try to understand their thinking, anticipate the enemies moves, so to be effective at foiling the enemies purposes. Bevan Berg’s points demonstrate wide knowlege, considerable thought and wisdom, and may even help illuminate the way to defeat thise who are abusing we fathers, and abusing our families.

    Comment by John Brett — Tue 20th September 2005 @ 9:46 pm

  9. John,
    The point at issue originally raised by Mark was that this posting has nothing to do with Child Support and was incorrectly catergorised.

    If catergories exist they must have a purpose.That purpose is to catergorise information to make it accessible to those who seek to read it.Bevan may well be stating a valid point but as he puts This is not so much about child support, but about the co operation and effort required to achieve reform.


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 9:30 am

  10. James,

    I don’t know whether you missed the point, or it just suited you to miss the point. When you have a piece of legislation, ie the child support legislation in action, the consequential outcomes achieve the purpose of our minority power holders. All the understanding, good intention and in your eyes better models, don’t mean a thing to people determined to maintain their position. In an entirely co-operative society you would find your approach very effective, however when you are fighting “The law of the few”, then the battleground is not reform of the issue, it is the issue of reform. When they are complementary positions, then WE will achieve results. When you isolate the issue from the strategy of reform as you have suggested above, you tread water, and wear yourself out. The timeline of reform is a critical element. So when I say this is not so much about child support, but about reform, and you say this doesn’t belong in this category, I think I have made my point.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 10:20 am

  11. Bevan,

    The question really becomes what is your point not missing the point.


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 11:22 am

  12. Scrap:You have said:
    The point at issue originally raised by Mark was that this posting has nothing to do with Child Support and was incorrectly catergorised”
    I cannot see any such category: This is in a general discussion forum. If you ONLY want to talk about Child Support, it is you who is in the wrong room.


    John Brett

    Comment by John Brett — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 4:58 pm

  13. John

    The post was filed under 3 headings one of them being Child Support.Look again!


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 10:05 pm

  14. This discussion is relevant to the other categories-
    You are starting to piss me off with your petty bickering. As I said, if can only discuss Child Support- get off this thread please.
    John Brett

    Comment by John Brett — Wed 21st September 2005 @ 10:29 pm

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