The Families Commission had made a commitment to meet next week with a small group of fathers who have been active in the men’s movement, mainly professional people myself included. A main theme for discussion was to be the high male suicide rate and its relationship to social policy and family law. However, following Jim Bagnall’s campaign in an Auckland school that was publicized in last weekend’s Sunday News, the Families Commission decided to back out of the meeting.
In response protests were organised for Wellington and Auckland.
A men’s lobby on Wednesday staged a protest outside the Families Commission in Wellington after the commission cancelled a scheduled meeting with its representatives.
About five men – including Republic of NZ party leader Kerry Bevin and Wellington psychologist Craig Jackson, who had been due to meet commission executives – protested on the footpath outside the Lambton Quay premises.
Commission chief executive Paul Curry snubbed the Father’s Coalition, on his board’s advice, after becoming concerned that its supporters were planning to hand out inflammatory leaflets to boys outside schools.
Curry said the leaflet was anti-family and an attack on the well-being of young men in their formative years, with claims about society problems stemming from homes without fathers.
“The leaflet itself, we weren’t worried about – it was the tactic of handing it to boys outside schools,” he said.
On Tuesday an assembly of 40 organisations such as Plunket, Barnados and Parents’ Centres agreed to set up a Fathering Networks steering committee. “That’s the positive way to support fathers to be successful,” Mr Curry said. He says he snubbed the meeting with men about suicide because the coalition’s concerns about Family Court proceedings potentially being a trigger for suicide had been confirmed by the court’s principal judge, Peter Boshier.
As a supporter for men’s rights and needs I personally think the Father’s Coalition has been a vital part in waking up New Zealand to what is going on and to push for groups to address the issues.
As a service provider for single parents we sometimes come across the same situation as father’s groups where parents need help through mediation, family court proceedings and relationship issues that end up in the criminal court.
We have come across one case where false rape allegations were made over immigration. The man involved had property, home and contents on the line as well as looking at a long term imprisonment and fine.
Proceedings continued just after a year when the man’s mental stability was deteriorating towards suicide. The whole thing was a sham and the court took into account his well being. Enough so that the proceedings ended immediately. Mind you, the courts are a process that takes 12 months costing tax payers and wasting time.
It is imperative IMHO that anyone working with men in these situations speak up to the courts if someone’s life may be taken. An allegation is one thing, a bureaucratic process is another but a man’s life … I mean c’mon ….