Family First News
Fairer child deal sought
The Press 21 May 2009
Child-support payments may be changed to reflect the income of a parent’s new partner. The proposal is part of Revenue Minister Peter Dunne’s call for a review of the child-support scheme. Dunne said yesterday that he wanted to make the scheme “as even-handed as possible”. He said current payments did not take into account the financial situation of the new partner of the parent usually the mother with custody of the children. Payments were based on a percentage of the liable parent’s income.
“At the moment we take into account the non-custodial parent’s income but we don’t take into account the changed circumstances of the custodial parent, so if they’ve married a millionaire, for instance, we don’t take that into account,” Dunne said. “If on one side of the ledger everyone’s standard of living has significantly improved, then that clearly impacts what the non-custodial parent should be paying by way of support. You take a poor, struggling guy in the suburbs with three kids whose partner has run off with a millionaire. You can certainly say it’s a bit anomalous in a way for him to be paying a high level of child support to kids where the money is being used to pay for the upkeep of the kids’ ponies.”
While any changes would primarily affect men, there was a growing number of women who were non-custodial parents, he said. The Union of Fathers group said Dunne’s proposals did not go far enough. “Equal shared custody is the answer where everything to do with the child is shared equally time with them, contact with schools, financial support to provide for the child,” spokesman Darrell Carlin said.
Latta slams families funds waste
The Timaru Herald 21 May 2009
The Families Commission is a colossal waste of time and money, and its $9 million budget could be far better spent elsewhere. That’s according to clinical psychologist Nigel Latta, who spoke on violence at two meetings in Timaru yesterday. Mr Latta waded into the commission during his hour-long talk, mocking the “startling and amazing” revelations from its research, and saying he would have probably “wasted” that $9 million on things like 6000 hours of teacher aid, 9000 laptops in schools, half a million library books or doubling or tripling the size of Women’s Refuge.
“It is a colossal waste of time and money in a country where we can’t afford it.” Mr Latta said there was enough money available to save the children in New Zealand – it just needed to be diverted from all the “stupid stuff”.
‘Ear-flick’ father guilty of assault
NZ Herald May 20, 2009
A Christchurch father has been found guilty of assaulting his 4-year-old son after a two-day trial seen as a test of the anti-smacking laws. After more than nine hours of deliberation, the Christchurch District Court jury last night found James Louis Mason not guilty of assault for lifting the bicycles his two sons were sitting on and slamming them back down. But the third count – which accused him of pulling the 4-year-old’s ear and punching him in the face – brought a guilty verdict. Mason denied all charges, but said he pulled the child’s hair and flicked his ear to stop him going back into a dangerous situation on his bike on the Bridge of Remembrance ramp in central Christchurch where his 2-year-old had fallen and hurt his head. Witnesses at the trial did not see the incident on the ramp. But they told of hearing Mason afterwards, swearing and shouting at the boys.
…Family First director Bob McCoskrie said last night the conviction was appropriate if it was for punching a child. But there was a concern that Mason may have been found guilty for only the ear-pull, as the actions of punching, and pulling the ear, were wrapped up in the same police charge. “If that’s the case, then it’s a decision that does concerns us. We would like that clarified to understand how the law is being interpreted by the police and the courts.” The anti-smacking legislation was passed by Parliament in May 2007, removing from the Crimes Acts the defence of reasonable force for parents who physically punish children. Family First is campaigning for the repeal of the law and in March issued survey findings showing many parents were still confused about the law change. As the law stands a light smack would not always be illegal. But 55 per cent of the 1000 people surveyed thought smacking was always illegal, 31 per cent thought it was not, and 14 per cent did not know.
School reports will tell it how it is
NZ Herald May 21, 2009
Parents could be warned their children are performing well below expectations in a proposed move to “plain language” on school reports. This week the Ministry of Education opened its proposed set of national standards for consultation, setting national standards for numeracy and literacy achievement and the way students’ progress should be reported. In the past parents have been confused by the language in school reports but the ministry is advocating “plain language reporting” – telling parents whether a child is achieving at the standard they should be, or whether they are just below, well below, just above or well above the national standard.
President of Auckland Primary Principals’ Association Marilyn Gwilliam said parents needed to be told, in plain and simple language, how their child was doing. When they understood the areas in which their son or daughter struggled, they could work more constructively alongside the school to lift the child’s achievement.
Garth George: Rankin’s file is the right CV for families
NZ Herald May 21, 2009
The appointment of Christine Rankin to the Families Commission is inspired. As was the appointment of Paula Bennett as Minister of Social Development, who was instrumental in Ms Rankin’s appointment. We now have a four-times-married serial monogamist sitting on the Families Commission; and a West Auckland solo mum, whose unwed daughter presented her with a grandchild fathered by a gang-banger, running our vast social welfare edifice. And that is as it should be in this modern age of everything-goes and a Parliament and bureaucracy cluttered with politically correct, namby-pamby politicians and civil servants.
It is to be hoped that Ms Rankin’s appointment is only the first of many such to be made to government boards, commissions and so on who will neutralise the stultifying effects of the lefty liberals who so appealed to Labour and the Greens.