Copeland’s Chronicle – MP Gordon Copeland
They say that time passes quickly when you’re having fun and whether or not that is true, I
can’t believe that we are already into the month of August. Spring is just around the corner.
My new party, Future New Zealand, will continue to place family policy high on our list of priorities. With that in mind I devoted my speech to Parliament in the General Debate on Wednesday the 18th of July to those issues. Our policy will centre around three critical success factors for strong and successful families. These are marriage; the presence of a father in the home; and parenting education. No political party in Parliament currently has a comprehensive detailed policy directed at the strengthening and building of strong marriages or keeping fathers with their children.
Back in 2003 when United Future established the Families Commission, I had high hopes that it would advance work in these areas. Sadly however, from day one, the Commission reported to a Labour Cabinet Minister, initially Steve Maharey and in latter days, David Benson-Pope until his sacking from Cabinet last week! I have learnt a lesson from that experience and in 2008, Future New Zealand will commit in advance to Ministerial control over the Families Commission (if we are in a position to do so).
Marriage in particular will be a distinctiveness for Future New Zealand. The Prime Minister does not support the institution of marriage and John Key, although personally committed to marriage, probably won’t go there for a number of reasons. In particular, I sense he has bought into the false dichotomy that to be pro-marriage is to be anti-all other kinds of family arrangements e.g. solo mums, de facto couples etc. However that is unnecessary. Future New Zealand will make it clear that we will support all family arrangements when it comes to tax and welfare etc. We are for all New Zealanders and their families and therefore seek to ensure the highest and best for all, but especially for children. It is because marriage is “the highest and best” that it will be central to our policy positioning.