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2000 news from MENZ.org.nz
On the TV1 Assignment Documentary 'The Parent Trap', broadcast on 23rd November 2000, Alliance list MP Dr Liz Gordon made an astonishing attack the appearance of Men's Movement representatives appearing before the Social Services Select Committee. Click on picture to download video (503 KB MPEG)
Men's Centre North Shore submission (25 KB pdf) on discussion document 'Responsibilities for Children: Especially When Parents Part'
In The Name Of The Children BBC NEWS, Sunday November 26 2000 (Video - needs Real Player)
(link) Reporter David Rose, Producer Gary Horne, Assistant Producer Darren Kemp. It's the crime guaranteed to horrify every jury - the sexual abuse of children by the carers entrusted to look after them. But are innocent men being branded paedophiles and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for crimes they did not commit? With more than 90 inquiries across Britain looking at 2,000 suspects, Panorama investigates the disturbing case of Roy Shuttleworth, a 67-year-old former care worker serving 10 years in prison. And, with up to Ł100,000 at stake in compensation for abuse, are some men being sold behind bars by the boys they cared for?
Stuart Birks (ed) (2000), Inclusion or Exclusion: Family Strategy and Policy Issues Paper No. 9, Centre for Public Policy Evaluation, November. Arising from presentations at the Public Health Association Conference 2000, Palmerston North, New Zealand, July 2000. (link to PDF)
- Introduction "Inclusive" Versus "Exclusive" Approaches - Stuart Birks
- Chapter One: Involving men in maternity services - Harald Breiding-Buss
- Chapter Two: Real Dads - Real Men: A study of fathers' experiences of child and family services in the Nelson/Tasman region and their suggestions for "father friendly services" - David Mitchell, Philip Chapman & Carol McIntosh
- Chapter Three: Carrots or sticks - Felicity Goodyear-Smith
- Chapter Four: Researching fathers in New Zealand: Whose voices are we hearing? - Paul Callister
- Chapter Five: The Shared Parenting Bill - Stuart Birks
Australian Lawyer Michael Green QC - author of "Fathers After Divorce" spoke at public meeting organised by the Separated Father's Trust. Act MP Dr Murial Newman attended to promote the Citizen's Initiated Referendum on Shared Parenting in Auckland. Pictures and Videos of Michael Green here. Michael Green's website: www.fathersafterdivorce.com 8th September 2000.
Fathers' Day Parade Citizens' Initiated Referendum on Shared Parenting Launched. Pictures & Videos of Parade here
Casualties of Sexual Allegations: COSA North News & Views August - September 2000 Newsletter plus text of Gordon Waugh's Address to Victoria University Psychology Students September 2000.
John Read resigns over visit by Professor Elisabeth Loftus to address the New Zealand Psychological Society's annual conference - transcript of Kim Hill Interviews - plus link to Audio. Felicity Goodyear-Smith met Beth Loftus (left of pic) on her arrival in Auckland. They are reading a NZ Herald article (excerpt below) on the false memory controversy, headed "Psychological Warfare." Feminist protesters at the NZPS conference handed out material critical of Loftus.
NZ Herald: Psychological warfare - Can the horror of childhood abuse resurface later? Dr John Read is a worried man. A local website is wondering - rather loudly it would seem - "how often does Read hear voices?" It's calling him "a liar," too, and a few other things besides. He seems staggered by the savagery of a salvo fired by those who discredit what he wholeheartedly believes: that a person can recover repressed memories, sometimes long-distant memories, from the depths of consciousness. "This is how the false memory syndrome's supporters operate, by trying to bully people into silence with hate websites and so forth," says Read, a clinical psychologist with 20 years' experience, most recently at Auckland Hospital's Conolly Unit. "I'm quite shocked. It is an unpleasant feeling to see your photo and personal hate mail on websites. Now I have a sense of what it might feel like when they do this to abuse survivors. "I finding it very draining, really. They are nasty people. But they think I'm nasty, too, I suppose." Welcome to what have been called the "memory wars." (link expired) 26th August 2000. more on John Read.
The ultimate betrayal - mothers who bash Society is used to the idea of protecting women and children from violent men. And the customary belief is that children are better off with their mother after a marriage breakup. But how do we react to international studies showing that women are the more frequent child abusers? These figures come from overseas studies because Child, Youth and Family Services does not record who commits family violence. Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith, a research fellow at Auckland University who has not been afraid to challenge conventional child-abuse wisdom, says take out sexual abuse and women turn out to be responsible for the majority of physical and emotional abuse of children. She cites a 1993 Canadian study which found that women and men meted out physical abuse in nearly equal proportions (39 per cent and 40 per cent), but women accounted for 79 per cent of emotional abuse cases and 85 per cent of the cases of neglect. Stuart Birks, director of Massey University's Centre for Public Policy Evaluation, quotes 1998 Child Abuse and Neglect National Statistics from the USA showing that 60 per cent of child abusers were women and that the most common type of abuse was being neglected by the mother. (link) 21st August 2000.
'Pre-nuptial' pacts on rise as law looms De facto and gay couples are opting out of proposed matrimonial property laws by drawing up "pre-nuptial" agreements. Lawyers report a rise in the number of couples asking for private property contracts before the passing of the Property (Relationships) Bill, probably in the middle of next year. Some de facto couples were "vehemently opposed." "They do not see why Parliament should interfere with their lives." (link) 21st August 2000.
Women's Refuge Silenced Government MP Tariana Turia is remaining tight-lipped about conversations with the Women's Refuge chief executive, who claims Maori ministers asked her to stop talking about domestic violence. Ms Raukawa-Tait told the National Party's annual conference that the Government had said to "pull my head in" when she lobbied for more money. (link) 21st August 2000.
Child-sex Man Target of 'Name and Shame' Attack Civil libertarians are opposing Auckland vigilantes who have launched a "name and shame" attack on a man convicted in a child sex case. The attack started when residents of a Mt Wellington street found photocopied notices in their letterboxes warning them that the 51-year-old man lived in their area and that they should watch their children. A former president of Casualties of Sexual Allegations, Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith, said vigilante attacks jeopardised rehabilitation schemes. Shaming paedophiles into leaving a community only forced them to live elsewhere, often in secret. "It's difficult because nobody wants their children in danger, but nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands either." (link) 21st August 2000.
Citizen's Initiated Referendum to Launch on Aug 25th The wording has been decided, it reads: "Should the Shared Parenting Bill introduced by Dr Muriel Newman (which creates a presumption that parents who are separated or divorced will have equal rights to custody of their children) be passed by Parliament?" We will soon have the forms and more information. We would like the support of your people to launch the CIR collectively next week. (more) 15th August 2000.
Government's Discussion Paper on Parenting Disappoints The Government released its discussion paper on the revision of the Guardianship Act today at the Beehive."The discussion document is a sad disappointment because it does not provide the New Zealand public with an objective debate on the issues," says Darryl Ward, spokesperson for Families Apart Require Equality. (more) New Zealand's guardianship law was passed over 30 years ago and it is now widely acknowledged that it no longer meets the needs of modern families. "The discussion paper looks at the Government's goals for family policy. It raises a number of questions on what we would like from our law on guardianship, custody and access for our children and young people. As well, people are invited to express their views on the functioning of the family court. The Government wants to ensure that there is no unjustified impediment to continuing active family involvement by fathers and the extended family." The discussion document 'Responsibilities for Children: Especially When Parents Part' has been published on the Ministry of Justice website: www.justice.govt.nz Public responses are invited by the end of November and should be sent to the Ministry of Justice, PO Box 180, Wellington, or can be e-mailed to [email protected] Full press release: (link) Associate Minister of Justice Margaret Wilson said: "I can tell you that the government does not have a set policy designed in anticipation of the results of the discussion and consultation. There is no point in closely reading the discussion paper to glean elements of an as-yet-unstated policy. It is a discussion paper, pure and simple, which begins a long process." (link) Steve Maharey said: "There needs to be greater emphasis placed on parent's responsibilities to their children. A parent's responsibility should never end simply because they do not live full-time with their child. This is a particularly important message for fathers of children from broken relationships. Children need the support and love of both their father and their mother and the law should ensure that this is possible unless there are compelling reasons otherwise. Government wants to achieve this through promoting parental responsibility, positive parenting and increasing parenting skills, supporting relationships, and acknowledging the importance of cultural values, attitudes and practices." (link) National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall today said the review of guardianship, custody and access laws must be more than just a few wording changes. "Professor Wilson must listen to submissions on the review this time. I only hope she does a better job of this than she has with her changes to Matrimonial Property legislation. It is ironic that Professor Wilson is keen to talk about the effect guardianship laws have on families and children when she is turning a blind eye to the effect her matrimonial property legislation will have on the same group of people. The changes the Government is making to matrimonial property legislation will see the majority of relationship breakups come before the courts - that's what family lawyers are telling the select committee." (link) Guardianship laws are outdated and need to better reflect modern families, Green MP Sue Kedgley said today. "It's time we got rid of out-dated terminology such as custody and custodial parent - which treats children like a piece of property," she said. "We need to look at ways of ensuring that ordinary non-violent parents can have frequent and continuing contact with their children."(link) 15th August 2000.
Development of a Children's Policy and Research Agenda The Government is developing an agenda for children's policy and research that will inform and provide a framework for work relating to children across the different sectors over the next five years. As a first step, Steve Maharey, Minister of Social Services and Employment and Laila Harre, Minister of Youth Affairs invited some 50 key people with experience and interest in children's issues to take part in a seminar on children's policy. The seminar was held in Wellington on 19/20 July 2000. (link) to papers. 15th August 2000.
Just released, "Research for Policy: Informing or Misleading?", by Stuart Birks and Gary Buurman, Issues Paper No. 7 from the Centre for Public Policy Evaluation. This collection of papers is part of the Centre's programme of assessing the type of research being used for public sector policymaking. We were motivated to pursue this subject as a result of the State Services Commission's project on the quality of policy advice given to Ministers. The project which was set up due to concerns raised by Jenny Shipley. The Commission identified several problems, one of them being, "Inadequate and/or ineffective use of information, research, evaluation and consultation techniques as policy inputs". This collection starts with a brief summary of the State Services Commission's project, followed by comments based on three pieces of public sector analysis. The first is the recently conducted New Zealand Time Use Survey. The survey illustrates how definitions, classifications and prior opinions can shape research, affecting the nature and value of results. The second uses a study on the economic cost of family violence to illustrate how assumptions, transferred from one study to another, can come to be regarded as established facts. That study also illustrates that awareness of the subject area is as important as knowledge of the relevant economic principles. The third study to receive attention, on pay gaps, is used to illustrate the importance of the methodology used and the need to determine what results are likely under different circumstances. (link to PDF) The Student Paper on the gender wage gap in New Zealand has received a lot of media coverage here in New Zealand. (link) 15th August 2000.
Tryannicide - New Battered Woman's Defence The Law Commission has called for submissions on whether the current legal defences available for people charged with murder and assault are adequate for battered victims who kill their abusers. In a discussion paper released today, the Commission explores the possibility of law reform. Judge Margaret Lee said one new defence suggested by an American writer, Jane Cohen, was tryannicide - the killing of a person who has socially isolated a victim and dominates them with fear and threats. She said one of the perceived problems was the gender bias in favour of men reflected in the law. Auckland lawyer Ema Aitken, co-convenor of the Law Society's Womens Consultative Committee, said the present law does not take account of the power imbalance between the victim and abuser. Discussion Paper: (link to PDF) 14th August 2000.
Good old Dad--needed after all Author Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center, uses studies ignored by the media, and by every public health document on parenting I've read, to explode modern shibboleths about the paternal role. It turns out that fathers of the old-fashioned, rough-housing, limit-setting kind--currently so frowned upon--really are good for kids. French researchers have demonstrated, for example, that toddlers whose fathers habitually rough-house with them will be more confident, creative and prepared to take intellectual risks once in school. And since fathers are less likely than mothers to assist youngsters with difficult tasks, a healthy dose of father care teaches children to tolerate frustration. Not that Dr. Pruett is critical of mothers. He simply emphasizes that mothers and fathers, being radically different, both contribute to the healthy development of their children.(link) 14th August 2000.
Parents Welcome Government Moves To Establish Judicial Integrity Commission The Minister of Justice has advised that his ministry officials are to begin work on establishing an independent Judicial Commission. This will be empowered to make recommendations on"the appointment, discipline and if necessary removal of judges"where irregular conduct has been established. Spokesperson for FARE, Bruce Tichbon, welcomes this move as the group has long been aware of decisions reached by the courts of this country which have been patently repugnant to natural justice and where evidential rules have been disregarded.(more) 10th August 2000.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse? Among the recommendations in Children's Commissioner Roger McClay's report on the death of James Whakaruru was examining the idea of mandatory reporting of child abuse - requiring doctors, lawyers, teachers and any other professionals involved in the care and protection of youngsters to tell the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) every time they suspect abuse. Reporting abuse now is voluntary. Dr Patick Kelly of Auckland Starship Children's hospital believes mandatory reporting would make it easier for GPs working in isolation to overcome pressure from the family not to report. "It takes the heat off the doctor. You're not seen to be picking on them and they can't bargain with you." One of the practical arguments against mandatory reporting - CYFS can barely deal with the cases it has now. Chief social worker Mike Doolan says mandatory reporting "would swamp us. There's no way it could be introduced without a significant input of resources." (link) 12th August 2000.
Professor Elisabeth Loftus responds to Dominion article "The issues surrounding the repressed memory controversy are literally a matter of life and death. Patients who have had false memories and beliefs planted have gotten worse, and some have ended up killing themselves. The uncritical acceptance of any dredged-up memory, no matter how dubious, has trivialised the experiences of the genuinely abused and increased their suffering. For all these reasons I feel compelled to speak out about this problem as forcefully as I can." (more) 12th August 2000.
John Read Protests Over Elizabeth Loftus Visit A row over academic freedom has erupted after attempts by a group of child sexual abuse campaigners to have a leading American academic stopped from giving a keynote speech to the New Zealand Psychological Society's annual conference this month. The dispute is so bitter that an executive member of the society, John Read of Auckland University, has resigned in protest at the society's refusal to revoke its invitation to Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington in Seattle. Professor Loftus is a world authority on the memory capabilities of children and was one of the first academics to question the belief of child-abuse therapists that adults could "recover' memories of sexual abuse supposedly inflicted on them at a very young age. Opponents of her speaking at the conference, to be held at Waikato University from August 27, say her research is flawed and has enabled child-abusers to walk free from courts because defence lawyers have used her work to discredit prosecution evidence. Dr Read, a senior lecturer in Auckland University's psychology department, is a prominent campaigner on issues concerning child sexual abuse. Until his resignation over the invitation he was the director of scientific affairs on the society's executive. Approached yesterday, he said he did not wish to comment on his resignation or about Professor Loftus. "Things may happen when she arrives," he said. One of Dr Read's supporters, Wellington clinical psychologist and Victoria University lecturer Judith McDougall, said it was not appropriate that Professor Loftus be given the prominence of a keynote speaker. (link) More on Dr Read, including audio and transcripts of his interview with Kim Hill here. August 5th 2000.
Exit, Voice and Men Keith Rankin's Thursday Column. The recent news has been dominated by the trials and tribulations of three men: Mark Todd, Dover Samuels, John Tamihere. And by two two-year old Maori girls who were beaten to death or near-death in family environments characterised by the absence of their fathers. My thoughts turned to another man. Raymond Ratima murdered seven members of his family in 1992. His story may hold a clue to the problems that New Zealand men in general and Maori men in particular are facing. The problem, in my view, is the social 'exit' imposed upon "guilty" men. To be 'exited' means to become an outcast while still physically present. Exit may be imposed by, for example, the criminal-justice system, or by mothers dispensing with fathers who have been unfaithful, violent or indigent. The fear of being 'exited' prevents many men from fessing up to their misdeeds. When knowledge of men's misdeeds becomes public, the pressures on their women to dispose of them increases. (link) 3rd August 2000.
Manhunt ends after man, daughter found hiding in barn An 18-hour manhunt in rugged eastern Taranaki ended safely on Sunday when a man and his three-year-old daughter, whom he abducted, were found after being on the run for nearly two months. The armed offenders squad (AOS) was called to the remote area of Huiroa, east of Stratford, on Saturday afternoon after police received a tip-off Mark Phillip Harris, 29, his partner Tania Tahi Maaka, 25 and daughter Mykayla were staying in the area. The couple had removed Mykayla, and their 18-month-old son, Wahi, from social welfare care six weeks ago. Maaka was arrested, but Harris fled with Mykayla into the nearby bush-covered hillside. The AOS, along with 12 police officers and two police dogs, searched the surrounding areas. When darkness fell, police called in local helicopter pilot Alan Beck who used a spotlight to search the scene from the air. Both children have been placed in the care of Child Youth and Family Services in Taupo. Harris has been charged with abducting a child under the age of 16 and breaching a restraining order. Maaka has been charged with failing to appear in court, and will likely also face a charge of being an accessory to abduction. Both parents are in custody in New Plymouth. (link) 31st July 2000.
Capil "bigoted": National Network Stopping Violence Services Spokesman Paul Prestidge says: "The `Christian' heritage that Graham Capill represents is the heritage of bigotry and persecution that most Christians today have rejected. His bigoted and homophobic statements about the Matrimonial Property Bill would not have been out of place in the Spanish Inquisition or other injustices undertaken in the name of Christianity. Thank goodness he represents an extreme view that is not shared by the majority of the population. The National Network Stopping Violence Services views the proposed Relationship Property Bill as fundamental human rights legislation. We do not believe that it is acceptable to discriminate on the basis of marital status or sexual identity in the matters covered by this Bill' said Mr Prestidge. We absolutely support the intent of the Bill, which is to promote justice, equity and human rights." (link) 28th July 2000.
Tim Barnett Should Go Christian Heritage Party Leader Graham Capill has joined the chorus of people and organisations questioning whether Tim Barnett should be the chair of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, which is examining the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill. Mr Capill said, "How can Mr Barnett be an impartial chair on these matters when he is reported as saying, 'it has been difficult throughout the past week's hearing as he sat through homophobic submissions' (Press 21/7/00). "Such a statement calls into question the objectivity of his chairing ability and has nothing to do with his sexuality. (link) 27th July 2000.
Judges need clear direction National Party Justice spokesman Tony Ryall says "The Select Committee should heed the advice of the Principal Family Court Judge, Patrick Mahony, and provide greater guidance for judges in changes to matrimonial property legislation."
Judge Mahony told the select committee: "the courts are good at applying clear law to complex facts. Complex law (such as the proposed legislation) makes it difficult and leads the court to make policy decisions. Parliament must decide on the mix and give us as close a steer as possible.The Family Court is very stretched at the moment, even one additional judge in each of the six main centres is unlikely to be enough to deal with the extra workload (as a result of this legislation). The chaos this legislation is going to cause in our courts must be addressed by giving judges the clear direction they require." (link) 26th July 2000.
NZ and Australia agree on strategies for women Women's Affairs Minister Laila Harré today agreed to share strategies and information with her Australian counterparts to help prevent domestic violence against women and children. The agreement was struck at the annual Australian and New Zealand Ministers' Conference on the Status of Women. "An evaluation of our local Domestic Violence Act will be released shortly, and the government may be able to draw on the success of some of these Australian anti-violence programmes in developing a more coordinated approach to the issue here in New Zealand," she said. (link) 21st July 2000.
Victory for marriage Christian Heritage Party Leader Graham Capill says, "Margaret Wilson's back down on some issues in the matrimonial property legislation is a victory for traditional marriage. The government needs to be warned that public outrage over such changes will be the least of their problems. History clearly shows that when marriage and family life are undermined by the State, disharmony, social disorder and general disintegration follows. The government would be much better employed trying to strengthen families." CHP submission is here also (link) 21st July 2000.
Submissioners say forget fiddling with the 50/50 split On Tuesday, the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee heard public submissions in Wellington on the Government's proposed changes to the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill. The hearing continues in Auckland today. National's Tony Ryall and Anne Tolley say: "The economic disparity that can occur when a relationship breaks down must be addressed but giving lawyers an open invitation to 'have a go' in court is not the way to go....The majority of submissioners are really concerned about throwing division of property open to the courts to decide on a case by case basis." (link) The definition at the centre of proposed changes to the legislation governing the division of property following relationship breakdowns needs more work, according to lawyers. Law Commissioner Donald Dugdale said he supported the changes, as it was much more sensible to have the rules for married and defacto couples under the same roof. However, a better definition is needed of what is meant by 'a relationship in the nature of marriage' (link) 19th July 2000.
Sallies plan refuge for men The Salvation Army in west Auckland is planning a specialist refuge for men whose only other option is to live on the streets. Captain Malcolm Herring, of the Henderson Salvation Army, says men can end up on to the streets through problems such as relationship breakups, prison releases or mental illness. City missioner Diane Robertson says men are particularly vulnerable despite a bravado which they take on to the streets. She says other anecdotal evidence shows mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse and dysfunctional families land men on the street. "That shows in the increasing number of young men who have mental health problems and who are committing suicide as well." (link) 18th July 2000.
Bush to Unveil $200 million Responsible Father Plan The program, administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, would be designed to help groups assisting unemployed or poor fathers to receive job training. The measure would subsidize employment and education programs as well as those that promoted successful parenting and good parenting practices. Additionally, Bush would provide $15 million to set up a national clearinghouse for information about effective fatherhood programs, launch a public education campaign and offer consultation and training to community organizations that wanted to implement local fatherhood programs. (link) 18th July 2000.
MPA Wording Change Not Enough A suggestion to change the wording of the Matrimonial Property Bill has not met with the approval of the Catholic Church, who say marriage should be treated separately. Attorney General Margaret Wilson this morning said she would not oppose a call from a group of Labour MPs to put the words "marriage, husband and wife" back into the legislation to preserve the sanctity of marriage. Addressing the Select Committee, Cardinal Thomas Williams said "Bringing marriage and other forms of relationship into the one bill has the effect of diluting marriage and detracting from its unique status." (link) National welcomes Margaret Wilson's back-down on matrimonial property law, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today. "Labour is at last showing some signs of common-sense in its attitude to matrimonial property law. It looks as if Margaret Wilson has acquiesced to pressure from a group of Labour MPs who don't accept the approach she had tried to introduce. "It seems she will be prepared to acknowledge the concepts of 'marriage,' 'husbands' and wives' in the legislation." (link) 18th July 2000.
New website on Relationship bill Do you know anyone living in a de facto relationship? Well, they are getting married on the 1st of July next year! You didn't know? Well, neither do they! That's because the Government is changing the rules. Check out the new National Party website: www.fairsplit.org.nz - full media release (link)14th July. National's Womens Affairs spokesperson Anne Tolley says "Attorney General Margaret Wilson is planning to marry more people than Reverend Moon. But at least the Moonies made a conscious decision to get married. Many New Zealanders in de facto relationships are completely unaware of how the planned changes will affect them. They have made a conscious decision not to get married and should not have this commitment forced on them by the Government. (link) Patricia Schnauer, Lawyer and former Act MP says: "At the risk of sounding sexist - men beware. If you survive the unions and the taxman¸ still stay alert because another powerful group - the feminists have you firmly in their sights...The proposed [property] legislation tips the scales so markedly in the woman's direction it's hard to see how fairness will be achieved....Have no doubt the focus of this Bill is to benefit women." (link) 13th July 2000.
Prostate Tests Bungled About 465 Gisborne men aged 50 to 90 will be sent letters warning that they may have received incorrect test results for conditions affecting the prostate, which could range from infection and inflammation to cancer. To try to restore faith in the public health system, Health Minister Annette King has dumped the entire six-member Tairawhiti Healthcare board. (link) 13th July 2000.
Children of Divorce Ignored An Otago University study of 107 children whose parents have separated or divorced found the overwhelming majority felt their views were ignored or never sought by parents, family lawyers or the Family Court on their future. The children felt unhappy and bewildered, and most wished their views had been taken into account on custody or access. The study, by the Children's Issues Centre, provides a fascinating insight into children's perspectives on the mechanics of a marriage breakup. (link) 12th July 2000.
Judge grants $88,000 compensation to sex accused Debra Helen Wood made a false complaint that a man indecently assaulted her in a Hutt Valley carpark. Wood had torn her own clothing and inflicted scratch marks on her neck and breasts. The plaintiff, whose name is suppressed, was arrested, charged and refused bail. He was held in custody for 15 days and eventually taken to trial before Wood's false allegations were discovered. A psychiatrist report described the man's depression, sleeplessness, nightmares, loss of appetite, loss of weight, fear and chest pains. He was also suicidal at least once before trial. As Wood has no resources, the money is unlikely to be paid. (link) 5th July 2000.
Woman 'drove police mad' with complaints An intellectually impaired Christchurch woman who has "driven the police mad" with false complaints has been warned that her many difficulties in life will not be enough to stop her being jailed if she continues offending. Karen Maria Annandale, 41, unemployed, admitted two charges of wasting police time. The Judge said the charges "were just the tip of the iceberg" of her offending. (link) 5th July 2000.
Compassion urged after false complaint A Nelson woman who was convicted this week of making a false complaint to police should be treated with compassion not condemnation, according to Jan Jordan, a senior lecturer at Victoria University's Institute of Criminology. The woman admitted making a false statement to police, alleging two men broke into her Hampden St home and sexually attacked her. The woman staged a break-in and injured herself to make it appear she had been attacked in a home invasion. She was convicted and ordered to pay $596.94. Her name has been suppressed. Ms Jordan said unresolved issues of past abuse or trauma were a reason a woman might lay a false complaint with police. Surveys suggest 50-80 percent of all rape complaints are false. (link) 30th June 2000.
James Whakaruru was let down by the Government and every agency that was supposed to care for and protect him, according to a damning report by the Office of the Commissioner for Children. The 86-page report details a series of failures by the health and welfare sectors, the Departments for Courts and Corrections, the Government, Plunket and the police to detect and address the ongoing abuse which resulted in the boy's death. (link) 26th June 2000.
Separated Fathers Support Trust has been advised that the Social Services Select Committee will hear submissions following Parliament accepting our petition for change to family law. Submissions will be taken at the same time for Bruce Cheriton's Shared Parenting Proposal. This is the time to stand up and be counted. Those who can assist please get in touch urgently. (more) 23rd June 2000.
Male teacher numbers increase Ministry of Education figures show that more men are entering the teaching profession and, once there, are leaving in fewer numbers. Since 1993, the number of male teachers joining the profession each year had increased from 711 to 1248. While men were still entering teaching in lower numbers than women, the intake rate for men had almost doubled in recent years, from 6.1 per cent to 11.4 per cent. Concern about the small number of men teaching, particularly in primary schools, fuelled an advertising campaign last year to encourage more men into the sector. (link) 23rd June 2000.
Misuse of alcohol by young people on the increase Laila Harré, Minister of Youth Affairs told the 2nd Youth and Alcohol Summit that ALAC research reveals facts about teenage drinking habits that are truly alarming, and she commended the publicity campaign the council has embarked on to better educate parents on this issue. Conducted in March, the survey found the number of 14-18 year olds drinking five or more drinks on their last drinking occasion had increased to 44% - a 10% increase on the1997 figure. (link) 22nd June 2000.
It's a boy! American researchers claim fathers earn more if they have a son than a daughter. They say men's incomes rise an average of nearly 5 per cent every time they have a child, but the increase is far greater for a boy than a girl. Research has already shown men tend to work harder and longer when they have children. (link) 21st June 2000.
Citizen's Initiated Referendum Muriel Newman says: "Shared Parenting is now firmly on the political agenda. Under a National-ACT Government, I am confident that Shared Parenting will become law, and I am personally committed to doing whatever I can to achieve that outcome. Tim Hawkins, of Waitati is sponsoring a Citizens Initiated Referendum on Shared Parenting. His question will ask "that Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill become law". Submissions on the actual wording of the question can be sent to the Clerk of the House at Parliament before June 23rd. After that, the Clerk and Tim will agree on the final wording, and the CIR will be launched. Tim will need all of the help he can get to collect 250,000 signatures within a 12 month period. I will do whatever I can to support Tim. If you are prepared to lend a hand, please either let Kath my secretary know, or contact Tim directly at PO Box 521 Dunedin Phone 03 4749697 Fax 03 4776560 Email [email protected] Shared Parenting Update (link) 20th June 2000.
Violence brochures discriminate against men The Alberta Human Rights Commission has ruled that family violence brochures published by an Edmonton counselling centre discriminate against men. The ruling, scheduled to be announced today, is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada. "This is a real breakthrough," said Ferrel Christensen, spokesman for the Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality (MERGE), the group that laid the complaint two years ago against The Family Centre. (link) 19th June 2000.
Taking issue with views on psychiatric illnesses "It is misleading for a psychologist to claim, or even suggest, that schizophrenia and similar psychotic disorders are caused by childhood abuse. In your article "Psychologist discusses effects of child abuse" (North Shore Times Advertiser June 6), that is exactly what Dr John Read has done in his study of psychiatric patients. Parents and families of people suffering with schizophrenia will be distressed and disgusted to learn that Dr Read continues to promote his daft gospel." (more) 13th June 2000.
New Age fathers PC, but mum still knows best "Its hard to know if Frank Haden was being serious or just tongue-in-cheek when he wrote this article. Frank seems to be supporting the continuation of New Zealand's preference for sole custody families, which have given us one of the most expensive and unsuccessful systems in the world when it come to protecting children." (more) 13th June 2000.
Naming Alleged Sex Offenders
"Naming sex offenders before they have been found guilty has frightening consequences for the innocent accused", says Bruce Cheriton of Mana Men's Rights Group. "False allegations of sexual abuse are very common in custody cases. Government has to be very careful with legislation like the Victim's Rights Bill, because they will be unwittingly increasing the nightmare for a growing category of new victims - the innocent accused."(more) 13th June 2000.
Beijing + 5 Special Session Speech by Liz Gordon (Alliance) "New Zealand's commitment to ending remaining gender-based discrimination and promoting the rights of women remains high on the Government's agenda. In particular, attention is being given to achieving women's economic independence as a basis for empowering women in all areas where equality is yet to be achieved. There remain in place policies which may appear equal, but which have unequal effects for women. One example is that while our legislation provides for the equal division of matrimonial property, in its application it has proved inadequate in recognising the unvalued contributions of women to a relationship. My Government is currently addressing this issue, as well as that of ensuring equitable property settlements in the dissolution of de facto and same sex relationships." (link) 12th June 2000.
Make a submission on the relationship property law The Government's next piece of family law to take the NZ family further back into the dark ages has been announced. Please everyone, make a submission! Do it well before the closing date 7 July, yes that's right, just one month. (more) The Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill will make changes to the law covering the property relationships of married couples. The Supplementary Order Paper No 25 (SOP) will extend the bill to cover couples in de facto relationships, including same sex couples, and make other changes to the law covering relationship property.(more) Courts will have the power to order one partner to pay a lump-sum compensation of money to the other if their career has been advantaged because of the division of responsibilities in the relationship (for example, staying home to raise family). Courts will have wider discretion to award spousal maintenance, taking into account standard of living of the partners, future earning capacity, effect of relationship on careers, contribution to relationship, and responsibility for their children. This change will also apply to de facto couples. (link) 8th June 2000.
Should equity be a social goal? If equity is defined as equal treatment of equals, equality before the law, or a compassionate concern for the genuinely needy, it deserves a place among our moral beliefs and public policies. If equity is defined as equality of material wealth or equality of money income, it should be rejected both because it lacks an ethical foundation and because seeking to achieve it in practice does more harm than good. Dr Cathy Buchanan and Professor Peter Hartley (link) 6th June 2000.
The Effects of Divorce on America Mounting evidence in social science journals demonstrates that the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects that divorce is having on America's children will last well into adulthood and affect future generations. Restoring the importance of marriage to society and the welfare of children will require politicians and civic leaders to make this one of their most important tasks. Today, for every $1,000 spent to deal with the effects of family disintegration, only $1 is spent to prevent that disintegration. Refocusing funds to preserve marriage by reducing divorce and illegitimacy not only will be good for children and society, but in the long run will save money as well. However, to set about the task of rebuilding a culture of family based on marriage and providing it with all the protections and supports necessary to make intact marriages commonplace, federal, state, and local officials must have the will to act. Patrick F. Fagan and Robert Rector. (link) 5th June 2000.
Children suffer most The proposed law changes are well overdue. Far from being a gold-diggers' charter, they will go some way towards redressing the gross financial inequities at present suffered by those who take on primary childcare roles. That will, in turn, benefit children, who suffer enough stress and confusion when their parents separate without adding financial deprivation. It is a pity that some male MPs and fathers do not recognise this. Catriona MacLennan, barrister. (link) 5th June 2000.
Respect the right to choose Most women I know with high-paying jobs don't let little hiccups like marriage and babies get in the way of their lives. They continue with their careers and somehow fit it all in. So who are all these hard-done-by women who really sacrifice their careers? For many women the prospect of staying home all day and being supported by their man is - far from a burden that they're somehow coerced into - exactly what they feel they want at the time. It's a choice they willingly and readily make. But it is a luxury not afforded to men. Even while the number of house-husbands grows slowly, general opinion suggests that any bloke who voluntarily opts out of the workforce to be supported by his wife is a bit long-haired, sandal-wearing alternative-lifestyler. The concept that men must constantly work, be the main breadwinner and support the family is an oppressive one. (link) 5th June 2000.
Betty Friedan's claims of being an "abused wife" are being vigorously challenged by her ex-husband, Carl Friedan. An article (link) includes a weak, self-serving admission by Betty that she was not mere victim: "My husband was no wife-beater, and I was no passive victim of a wife-beater. We fought a lot, and he was bigger than me." However, her statement does not even begin to address the real truth, that *she* was a husband abuser of the worst type. For the duration of their marriage, *she* went on rampages, kicking, scratching, threatening with knifes, destroying property, THE WORKS! Fortunately Carl Friedan is vigorously challenging the claims, and he has set up a Web site to confront Betty's lies.(link) 4th June 2000.
When a Couple Divorces, Who Owns the Embryo? According to a New Jersey state appeals court opinion, the biological mother maintains a constitutional right to decide what happens to embryos extracted during an in vitro procedure. (link) 2nd June 2000.
Counselling makes stress worse People should not be given counselling straight after being involved in car accidents because it harms their long-term recovery, doctors have found. In a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Professor Richard Mayou and colleagues from the Warneford Hospital in Oxford found that people who had received psychological "help" immediately after the accident had far worse symptoms of travel anxiety, physical pain and displayed a poorer ability to cope later than those who were left alone. (link) 1st June 2000.
Women Should Say 'I Don't' Opposition Women's Affairs spokesperson Anne Tolley is encouraging women to say 'I don't' to the select committee considering changes to matrimonial property legislation before the Government says 'I do' for them. "In the submissions to the two original bills, only 7% of the 273, mentioned giving support for combining matrimonial and de facto property legislation. The submissions of two women's legal associations emphatically opposed such a move. We should be making the rules more clear - not giving judges increased discretion to work it out on a case by case basis. Family courts are logjammed now with the flood of domestic violence cases. A deluge of matrimonial property cases will only add to this." (link) 1st June 2000.
Phil Goff on Ellis Enquiry Dear Mr Waugh, I have considered your request to refer the literature you have enclosed to Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, for him to consider as part of the inquiry into the Ellis case. However, I do not think it is necessary to refer this material to Sir Thomas, having regard to the purpose of the inquiry and the nature of the issues it has been set up to consider. (more) 1st June 2000.
Shotgun Weddings The Matrimonial Property Bill, which took another step down the aisle in Parliament today, will shackle thousands of New Zealanders with new obligations and an uncertain future, says Opposition Justice spokesman Tony Ryall. "This Bill will leave New Zealanders who had no intention of committing to one another to queue with thousands of others for a family court judge to decide on their entitlement. Lawyers expect to see 90% of matrimonial property cases in the courts as a result of this legislation." (link) 1st June 2000.
Citizens Initiated Referenda on Shared Parenting Your urgent assistance is required. A Citizens Initiated Referenda has been initiated. The question proposed to be put to voters is"Should Dr. Newman's Shared Parenting Bill be made law in the family court?"Submissions are currently being called on the wording of this proposal. (more) 31st May 2000.
Child support law needs radical re-examination, say experts Victoria University researchers Bill Atkin and Andrew Black say the scheme does not encourage parental responsibility."There is nothing in the child support regime which encourages the financial parent to become a real parent,"says Atkin."Nor is there any incentive on the caregiver to encourage the absent parent to become active in the child's life". (link) 29th May 2000.
Domestic Violence Video Launched 'Your Call' is aimed at men who have been violent. The video shows how some men who have been served with Protection Orders have chosen to take this as a wake up call and make changes in their lives. In the first three years after the Domestic Violence Act was introduced, the Family Court received 22,174 applications for protection orders - an average of over 600 per month. The overwhelming majority of respondents are male (92%) and the majority are either husbands or partners of those they abuse (83%). (link) 29th May 2000.
Beware of unintended consequences National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall says the two month select committee process is not long enough to do a good job on the detailed wording of the Property Relationships Bill. The devil is in the detail. "The matrimonial property changes will be the Employment Relations Bill all over again - impractical legislation, hurriedly drafted and not enough consultation resulting in 'unintended consequences'. (link) 29th May 2000.
From here to paternity - Fatherhood should be taken as seriously as motherhood a gathering body of evidence now endorses what many fathers feel - that what we do matters right from the very beginning of a child's life. In short, we imperil a child's future if we fail to take fathering as seriously as mothering. We now know, for example, that children whose fathers are highly involved with them in their first month are performing better than their peers to their first birthdays. Breast-feeding is more successful when fathers are backing up the new mother and maternal postnatal depression is lower. Research suggests that wellfathered six and seven-year-olds achieve better at school. (link) 28th May 2000.
First Step To Shared Parenting Referendum Tim Hawkins, spokesman for the Dunedin group 'The child's right to be mothered and fathered', has lodged a proposal with the Clerk of the House to promote a petition for a referendum on shared parenting. (link) 26th May 2000.
Women will pay the price for the Government's under-estimation of the impact the new matrimonial property legislation on the Family Courts, says Opposition Women's Affairs spokesperson Anne Tolley. "A flood of cases will be filed following this legislation, only to be caught in the logjam that already exists." (link) 25th May. Lawyer Deborah Hollings, says that her client 'Z', an Auckland wife who won a portion of her wealthy husband's future earnings - would be delighted with the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill. Although the payout was overturned by the Court of Appeal, it caused a furore about inequities in relationships where one partner's career prospects and earnings are 'restricted by child-rearing.' Australian judges award up to 70 per cent of existing assets. She says the bill will benefit mostly "women who do not have dependent children - often middle-class families." (link) Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson confirmed in Parliament yesterday she had been advised the proposed changes would spark more litigation when couples broke up. The Government has come under heavy fire for the proposed changes, which would give de facto and same-sex couples the same property rights as married couples. (link). Public opinion on the Herald discussion board has been mostly negative: "I call myself a feminist (at least I did until the man-hating pro-natal brigade hijacked it) and I think it's ridiculous for women to demand equal rights but then also want to leech off some bloke because they are too stupid to get a real job, and are content to play the dopey housefrau and nursemaid. Most marriages end in divorce - don't hitch your wagon to a man in the hope that he will support you all his life cos it ain't gonna happen, sister. Make sure that when the marriage ends that you are covered - and that does NOT mean demanding all your ex's future earnings, it means getting a career and a life of your own. So you've got kids? Why should you have to look after them then - are they welded to you or something? Or do you just not like the fact that the noncustodial parent is the one who ends up paying?" debate in the Herald online (link expired).
Government backs down over 'gold digger's charter' The Government has been forced to back down over its plan to push through controversial changes to matrimonial property laws, after opposition parties united in demanding public consultation. Attorney General Margaret Wilson bowed to the pressure, agreeing to reopen the debate on de facto and same-sex couples by sending the bill back to a select committee for submissions. (link) The National Party has slammed the Property Relationships Act as a "gold digger's charter." It says the legislation has the potential to clog the courts, blow the legal aid budget and destroy the institution of marriage through its abandonment of terms such as "husband" and "wife." (link) Yesterday's decision to refer the sweeping changes introduced by way of Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill to select committee is a victory for democracy," said Young Nationals Chair Daniel Gordon (link) Green MP Sue Kedgley said she was mystified by the attacks of the National Party, New Zealand First and Act against the new economic disadvantage provisions of the bill, which are needed to give redress to the many thousands of parents, mainly women, who devote years to unpaid full-time parenting of their children, and who are disadvantaged under the present provisions of the Matrimonial Property Act. "The heart of the problem is that when parents look after their own children, they receive no remuneration," she said. "Studies show that a parent who has been looking after children on a full or part-time basis are often financially worse off after divorce, while the partner who has been in the paid workforce is financially better off. (link) 24th May 2000.
Greens Request Second Look At Property Bill "While we strongly support the provisions in the bill, we want to ensure it works as well as possible, and there is a major issue of democracy here," Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today....The bill includes fundamental changes that could affect every relationship in the country."(link) National's Justice Spokesman Tony Ryall said: "National has a number of concerns about the Bill. If passed in its present form, it will see most matrimonial disputes ending up in court - only 10% do now. These cases will take years to solve and will be a new gravy train for legal aid lawyers. The Bill undermines the long-standing 50/50 split rule, and changes the clean break principle so that one partner will end up paying alimony way beyond the boundaries today. (link) Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said "It took pressure from all sides of Parliament, but it is great news that Labour has finally been brought to heel on its proposed shake-up of matrimonial property law. (link) The Government decision gives a month for public submissions, but some MPs are concerned that may not be long enough. It is expected that the Select Committee will report back to Parliament for further debate by 1st August. (link) ACT's Stephen Franks said Margaret Wilson's move to allow just one month for public submissions was an insult. "The degree of public interest will mean that it is unlikely that the Justice and Electoral Select Committee could get through hearing submissions, drafting amendments and report back in a considered way by Ms Wilson's deadline of August 1,"he said. "The essence of the multi-party move today that forced Margaret Wilson to this was to try to take family law back away from ideological posturing and to ensure that family law is stable and doesn't change every time there is an election,"he said. (link) It gives enormous power and discretion to Judges. The drafting is obscure. But it is so bad in principle that even exemplary drafting would still drag thousands of unhappy, separating couples into a quagmire of litigation. Bitter people can't avoid Lawyers exploiting uncertainty. Advice on either side will urge their party to"try it on"as no one knows what the Judge will think is fair. It may depend on the Judge. Is equality equity? (link) United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne is concerned that there are aspects of the proposed amendments which appear to go beyond the scope of simply extending the existing legislation. They introduce far-reaching changes that will have implications for existing married couples they may be unaware of. (link). A digest of the Supplementary Order Paper is here (link) 23rd May 2000.
Salute to fatherhood unites dads and kids On Saturday 20th May there was a 'Fathers for Families' event in Aotea Square, with displays by Auckland father's organisations. The spirit of the day was to show that fathers are caring, loving and truly supportive of their children, families and communities.(link) (more) Organised by the group Just Dads (more) 22nd May 2000.
March for Fathers & Families Almost 40 people met in QE ll Square at 9.45am and marched up Queen St to Aotea Square, promoting shared parenting and Family Court reform. Warren Heap from the Separated Fathers' Support Trust issued a media statement calling for family law practices to change to recognise value of fatherhood (more) 20th May 2000.
School for Seduction Mme Veronique Jullien has run L'Ecole de Séduction Française for two years. She says it is the "feminist revolution" that has brought about such a confused state of affairs for so many men and women. Even in France, where men have traditionally pursued women with the passion that the English reserve for cricket, a deep-seated malaise has become evident. "The old type of French lover has disappeared," said Mme Jullien. "He's been castrated by revolutionary feminism, which rejects the essential differences between the sexes and the need for the man to assert a dominant role. That's why I founded this school: to get men back on the right track." (link) 19th May 2000.
Women's equality still an issue Chief Justice of NZ, Dame Sian Elias says the barriers to equality for women in society still remain "substantial challenges" today. She said there were still women who felt invisible and undervalued by traditional law practice. Last night's address was attended by many Dunedin lawyers as well as Chief District Court Judge Ron Young, District Court Judge Carolyn Henwood (more), Christine Grice, president of the New Zealand Law Society, and Nicola Mathers, of the NZLS Women's Consultative Group. (link) 19th May 2000.
Turia - family violence I believe the strengthening of our whanau is the most critical development issue we are facing today, says Hon Tariana Turia. "Violence within our whanau has a significant impact on all areas of life - education, income, employment, health, and on the basic well being of families and communities. Instead of reprimanding or dictating to families, we need to assist them with the causes of their problems. "Family violence is unacceptable, just as the lack of a coordinated government approach to support families to overcome the causes of family violence in the past is unacceptable to this government." (link) 19th May 2000.
Is Privacy Bad For Women? What the Indian constitutional tradition can teach about sex equality. There is a puzzle about privacy. Consider two Supreme Court cases of great importance to feminists: Griswold v.Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. Both were decided on privacy grounds. And yet many feminists have objected to the privacy right, arguing that the concept is somehow in league with male dominance. What's the problem? Martha C. Nussbaum (link) May 2000.
Refuge: we need double the money Social Services Minister Steve Maharey said Women's Refuge would need to take up its case for more money with Child, Youth and Family Services. "I cannot announce today there will be any change in their funding," (link) 18th May 2000.
'Arrogant' Wilson Only Consults Like Minds Over Property Bill "This is an extreme and hugely significant change in the law that Ms Wilson is proposing. It demolishes the clean break principle, puts 50/50 sharing at the whim of judges and forces de-facto couples to go to lawyers if they want to stay as they are. It must go to a Select Committee to allow New Zealanders to make submissions on it," Steven Franks said.(link) 18th May 2000.
Draft Report Released On Status Of NZ Children The Ministry of Youth Affairs has compiled a draft report on New Zealand's performance in relation to United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) since 1995. "In order to complete this draft the government needs feedback from groups and individuals around the country that are working to improve the rights and wellbeing of children," says Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harré. (link) Feedback and comments must reach the Ministry by July 15, and a full copy of the draft report is available on the Ministry of Youth Affairs website, www.youthaffairs.govt.nz 18th May 2000.
The child exchange rate The Australian Government's moves to help divorced dads see their children can only be beneficial, writes Bettina Arndt. "How absurd was media speculation that changes to child support arrangements introduced in last week's Budget were due to last-minute lobbying by angry dads. The truth is very different." (link) 18th May 2000.
Concept of marriage to be abolished New Zealand First MP, Hon Brian Donnelly, today said that the significant Government changes to the Matrimonial Property Bill essentially abolish the concept of marriage in our society. (more) 17th May 2000.
The Green Party recognises the frustrations which many parents, mainly fathers, are facing in trying to secure adequate custody arrangements following a family break-up. With this in mind, Green Party MP, Sue Kedgley, sought assurances from the Labour Party for a review of Family Court procedures. (more) 17th May 2000.
Women's Refuge choose Family Week to launch violence report called 'Improving Outcomes for Women and Children who have been victims of family violence.' (link) The study by economist Suzanne Snively, commissioned by The National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges, found that if Government funding was doubled from $4 to $8 million the number of women and children known to be free from violence would more than double to 28 percent. (link) However there are many problems with Snively's research into Family Violence. (link) Speaking at the launch of the report, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said: "We are committed to taking a fresh look at policies and legislation that impact on children and families. This will include examination of areas like guardianship and adoption to ensure that the primary interest of children is protected and that families are supported. We will also address related issues such as child support, matrimonial property and general family policy. It is not sufficient to say that policies were sound when created 10 or 20 years ago. Policy, like the Refuge movement has to change with the times to suit today's reality, not the world of yesterday...... Since 1996 the Government has been funding a number of community-based family violence prevention programmes as part of a crime prevention package. $1.9m will be provided in the budget to enable these excellent programmes to continue for 2000/01." (link) 17th May 2000.
Courses for separating parents "It is often claimed that our society is guided by the principle of 'the best interests of the children'. If this is so, then it should be reflected in efforts to maintain children's ongoing close and effective relationships with both their parents. This affords the children the benefits not only of two parents, but also of both extended families. One simple indication of this intent would be parenting courses for parents who live apart." Stuart Birks. Interesting new site. (link) 16th May 2000.
Masculinities One Day Conference 3rd July. This conference at the University of Auckland celebrates the visit of Professor Bob Connell. Papers offered include themes of cross-cultural masculinity, sexuality, health, education and representation. Register by 16th June: $25 Students/Unemployed, $40 Employed (includes lunch). Send Cheques to Dr Heather Worth, Institute for Research on Gender, UoA, Private Bag 92019, Auckland. Ph. 373 7599 ext. 7042 email: [email protected]
Traditional family is heading into history Steve Maharey said it was time to acknowledge that the days of the nuclear, European-style family unit had gone. Many children were growing up in sole-parent, reconstituted and extended families. The focus of policy had been on the breakdown and attempted restoration of old family structures, rather than supporting the new forms existing now, he said. For example, as long as sole parents were "able to provide love, discipline and sound nurturing, things are going to be OK." (link) However the editorial disagrees: "It's a pity he did not study his statistics more closely. Certainly, the wider family and other associations that used to support parents of young children have been greatly weakened today, but that is as often as not a decision of the parents. When a government tries to provide that support, it needs to reinforce the primary family unit, not hail its supposed demise. (link) Cabinet has approved the inclusion of provisions for de facto and same-sex couples in the Matrimonial Property Bill. The amendments also include provisions for a fairer [ie: unequal] division of property in the event of couples breaking up. Cabinet also proposes a change of name - to the Property (Relationships) Bill.(link) Comment on the Human Rights Commission submission on this issue. (link) 16th May 2000.
Lesbian affairs cause more marriage break-ups Because men can't understand their needs, women feel they are better off with a woman who can. More and more women in Britain are becoming divorced from their husbands after embarking on lesbian affairs. (link) 15th May 2000.
Health - how men suffer Historical health drives have tended to focus on problems affecting women and children - men's health provision has been described as a "low priority". Men are not only more prone to big killers like heart disease, but figures suggest that those in the most disadvantaged social classes are quickly falling even further behind. (link) 15th May 2000.
Children and families central to Govt. policy agenda The International Day of Families provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to celebrate the growing diversity of the family says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey. "The days when the 'family' meant 'mum, dad and the kids' are long gone." (link) 14th May 2000.
Lies, Damned Lies And... Statistics, such as the '74 cents' factoid used to prove pervasive sex discrimination. Furchtgott-Roth and Stolba argue that the 74 cents statistic is the product of faulty methodology that serves the political agenda of portraying women as victims needing yet more government intervention in the workplace. The authors demonstrate that income disparities between men and women have been closing rapidly and that sex discrimination, which has been illegal for 30 years, is a negligible cause of those that remain, which are largely the result of rational personal choices by women. (link) 14th May 2000.
Equality not at home Women may be achieving more equality in society but at home the traditional roles of men and women are largely entrenched, a new Massey University study claims. (link) 14th May 2000.
Andrea Dworkin is, in the popular imagination, the spearhead of radical feminism, of anti-pornography. And now she has published what she believes to be her life's work, nine years in the making; not another assault on gender relations or the sex industry but a polemical account of modern Israel and the lessons it holds for women. It is a book which many Zionists, non-Zionists, Palestinians, scholars of the Holocaust, pacifists, the left, women, and men, are bound to find offensive. Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel And Women's Liberation, sparked by a visit to Israel in 1988, is a critique of Middle East politics which sees the whole situation as a product of wounded and then enraged testosterone. (link) 13th May 2000.
Shared Parenting debate in the House In a move that clearly showed this new government cares little about children or families, they, along with the Greens and New Zealand First, voted down my Shared Parenting Bill last Wednesday night. Labour denied leave for a conscience vote. They also denied leave for a spilt vote.However, in a move that was quite unprecedented the whole House and visitors' gallery applauded my final rebuttal speech for over two minutes, which signalled to me that although the Bill was voted down for political reasons, it does have a great deal of personal support amongst individual Members of Parliament. Dr Muriel Newman MP (more) 12th May 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill defeat stifles debate The Parliamentary vote on the Shared Parenting Bill took place on Wednesday 10th May. Labour, Alliance, Greens, and NZ First rejected the bill while Act and National supported it. Muriel Newman still holds hope for the future of Shared Parenting. The petition has been sent to the Social Service Select Committee, which has almost no work on at present. Newman says "The idea that children whose parents separate or divorce should enjoy the continuing support of both the mother and the father must become the basis of family law in New Zealand. To maintain sole custody as the predominant outcome of family breakdown will simply assure that more and more children will fail to reach their potential. (link) Auckland National MP Belinda Vernon said the defeat of the Shared Parenting Bill in Parliament just reiterates the Labour/ Alliance 'we know best' approach to government. "I have been overwhelmed by the number of parents, particularly fathers, and grandparents who have expressed their helplessness and frustration with the inadequacies of the present system.(link) Christian Heritage Party Leader Graham Capill was critical of the Government's refusal to allow even a conscience vote on it."As a pastor and as a politician I have dealt with many men (in particular) who wish to take a more active role in parenting, but are prevented from doing so by court orders and welfare agencies. Far from discouraging such parenting, the law needs to be changed to encourage it." (link) 11th May 2000.
Review of guardianship and family policy Attorney-General Margaret Wilson and Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced that the Guardianship Act, including related family policy, is to be reviewed by the Government. A discussion paper will be issued mid-year inviting public responses, which will close in early November. (link) Green MP Sue Kedgley congratulated Muriel Newman for bringing this issue before Parliament. "We agree with aspects of the Shared Parenting Bill which seek to address a real problem in society - alienation of children from non-violent natural parents. Many non-custodial parents, and especially fathers, find it very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to obtain frequent and regular access to their children." (link) A petition with over 4,000 signatures requesting a concience vote was presented to ACT MP Muriel Newman by Bruce Cheriton on the steps of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. (link) 10th May 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill will test government's credibility. FARE spokesman Darryl Ward said: " It is a travesty that last week the Matrimonial Property Amendment Bill, one of the government's pet pieces of legislation, was allowed a conscience vote. If the Shared Parenting Bill was allowed a conscience vote it would certainly be passed to the select committee stage, where ordinary New Zealanders would at last be able to have their say. It seems dividing up the cutlery and linen after a separation is more important to the government than the welfare of our children and families."(more) 9th May 2000.
Who Killed School Discipline? In the USA Court decisions and federal laws have turned principals into psychobabbling bureaucrats. How can kids respect them? (link) May 2000.
Support the Shared Parenting Petition that MPs be given a conscience vote so that the bill can be referred to a Select Committee so that parents, grandparents and other concerned NZers can have their say (more). FAQs on the bill (here) Check it out (here). Join NZ Fathers Voting Lobby e-mail list (link). SPB message board (link).
Compulsory Marriage For Thousands Equal property rights for gay and de facto couples are a virtual certainty after Parliament voted to include them in laws due to be passed soon. Apart from Labour's Pacific Island MP, Taito Philip Field, MPs voted along party lines despite the conscience vote. Labour, the Greens and the Alliance backed the move, while National, Act and NZ First voted against it. As part of the changes, the courts would be given discretion to take into account whether future earnings had been disadvantaged by being in a marriage or a relationship. (link) The motion was needed because the level of amendments to the bill proposed by the government exceed the scope of the Committee of the House as a whole to approve in ordinary circumstances. The government does not wish to allow the bill to be considered again by a Select Committee which would be the alternative. United's Peter Dunne also voted in favour. (link) People who "are currently happily cohabiting have no desire for this Parliament to interfere with their relationship ... You are effectively marrying them by default without their choice," Mrs Shipley said. (link) 5th May. "The Government will move to shut out the public from having any input on its radical moves to include de facto and same sex couples in marriage law - effectively marrying thousands of unsuspecting New Zealanders." Stephen Franks, ACT (more) Policy discussion draft (link) 4th May. The Men's Centre North Shore 1998 Submission to the Select Committee is (here). A Lesbian viewpoint: "I believe the very first change the state will make will be to include same sex couples in benefit rules. Thousands of lesbians will lose their only income and become financially dependent on their partners. Thousands of couples who are both on benefits will have their income reduced to the "married" rate. The state will have the right to pry into the sex lives and financial arrangements of all these couples". (link). More on this subject (here).
Fatherlessness: The Root Cause The continuing rise in illegitimacy rates is terrible news not just for the children themselves, but for every potential crime victim in America. For all the talk about the complexities of the "root causes"of crime, there is one root cause which overwhelms all the rest: fatherlessness. (link) 5th May 2000.
In the Mirror of Elián The twenty-first century will begin with a father and child reunion: the father of Elián González' reunion with his child, Elián. Just as the last quarter of the twentieth century was marked by women's struggle for equal opportunity in the workplace, more than the first quarter of the twenty-first century will be marked by men's struggle for equal opportunity in the homeplace. By millions of dads trying to be reunited with their Eliáns. Warren Farrell (link) May 2000.
Family Politics and Gender Roles Since the feminist revolution began in the 1970s, the transition to non-specialist roles has been too highly focused on the issue of women participating as equals in the paid workforce. Feminism then was more about creating equality in what had been the male-specialist domain, and not about gender equality in general. Yet women can never gain complete equality in the domains of employment and business until they concede equality in their specialist domain: the domain of the home and of children. Keith Rankin (link) 4th May 2000.
The War against Boys This we think we know: American schools favor boys and grind down girls. The truth is the very opposite. By virtually every measure, girls are thriving in school; it is boys who are the second sex. Christina Hoff Sommers (link) May 2000.
Who Needs Research For a Law Change? The Government has done no research on the effects of the proposed de facto law changes says ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks. ACT will support legislation that enables couples to opt into agreements that cover these matters, but this must be based on choice, not on Government decree.(link) 3rd May 2000.
CYFS hit with $5m in lawsuits Child Youth and Family Services has been slapped with nearly $5 million of lawsuits in the last three years. However, the department has failed to find out how much money it has paid out settling claims made during that time. ACT NZ social welfare spokeswoman Muriel Newman said the large number of claims against the department was a "symptom of a service in urgent need of review". Children were often taken from families by the department, which had no way of measuring if its intervention was successful, she said. (link) 3rd May.
Rape Crisis Week Man Alive is seeing an increasing number of men and boys who are having the courage to disclose that they have been sexually abused - and a proportion of them that they have been abused by women.Our laws and the attitudes of our legal staff (including police) and of society as a whole further abuses them. (more) 2nd May 2000.
A Child's Right To Both Parents It is on the basis of what can only be described as misinformation, that the Government has signalled its intention not to support my Shared Parenting Bill, which is currently before the House, to a Select Committee. At the same time as they plan to kill the Bill that ensures the rights of children come first when couples separate, the Government plans to send to a Select Committee a Bill that deals with the division of property when couples separate. Not only that, but they intend to give Members of Parliament a conscience vote on the Matrimonial Property Bill, while rejecting a call for a conscience vote on the children's bill. Sadly, indications are that this is a Government that, when a couple separates, values the welfare of fridges and washing machines over the welfare of children. Murial Newman. (link) 2nd May 2000.
Home detention gains momentum. The Department of Corrections target is 300 offenders released to home detention by June this year. While on home detention, offenders wear an electronic, waterproof and tamper-proof anklet that triggers an alarm at the Chubb monitoring base if the offender leaves the confines of their property without permission. (link) 1st May 2000.
Law Society Out Of Touch The Society's Family Law Section must be completely out of touch to suggest that Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill is misconceived and fundamentally flawed. Perhaps the real reason why the Law Society is so opposed to this Bill is that they fear loss of work for lawyers if families are encouraged to work out their own solutions. (more) 31st April 2000.
Add Dale Rape Case to Ellis Inquiry The Dale rape case (more) should be included in the Ellis inquiry to ensure a thorough investigation is made, said ACT justice spokesman Stephen Franks. "We must establish whether the law is no longer protecting the innocent." Greg Newbold, in his new book - Crime in New Zealand - has evidence that the courts are biased against men in cases involving women. (link) 28th April 2000.
Mother of all battles "Misogyny is a terrible smear,'' says a prominent cartoonist. "It's like saying a wife-beater, a racist, a paedophile. I think this type of accusation accounts for a lot of men being silenced about all sorts of things.'' Leunig believes open discussion on the needs of children is being stifled by child-care advocates imposing their agenda. "There's a kind of touchiness here that is not just accidental. It's almost a sickness." Bettina Arndt. (link) 28th April 2000.
Better System Needed To Ensure Fair Child Support The government is being warned that a lack of proper information surrounding the collection of child support is making the process unfair and costly to parents and taxpayers. (link) 28th April 2000.
Lawyers don't like bill The Family Law Section of the NZ Law Society considers the Shared Parenting Bill, now due to be introduced into Parliament on 10th May this year, is misconceived and fundamentally flawed. (link) 26th April 2000.
Drop-Out Fathers and Dead-Beat Dads? Popular wisdom would have us believe that fathers, consciously or unconsciously, simply drop out - in other words, they lose interest in their children, they stop caring, and they abandon their responsibilities, all of which would explain why contact seems to decrease over time. This 'wisdom' was not supported by our research. Some 60 per cent of fathers who rarely saw their children were in dispute with ex-wives about the frequency of contact. (link).
Rebels Promote Parenting Petition Youth group Prebble's Rebels are giving their support to a petition calling for a conscience vote on Dr Muriel Newman's Shared Parenting Bill. (link) 23rd April 2000.
Breaking the ties that bind A controversial study appearing in American Psychologist, the flagship publication of the influential American Psychological Association (APA), constitutes nothing less than a frontal assault on the importance of fathers and the institution of the family. In 'Deconstructing the Essential Father', authors Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach argue, "We do not believe that the data support the conclusion that fathers are essential to child well-being and that heterosexual marriage is the social context in which responsible fathering is most likely to occur. We do not find any empirical support that marriage enhances fathering or that marriage civilizes men and protects children." (link).
A Restorative Justice System would put the vicim back at the heart of the process, by Nandor Tanczos (link) 21st April 2000.
90% of school assault accusations false The UK teachers' union says it is dealing with a rising number of cases. ATL's general secretary, Peter Smith, said there should be a review of the Children Act 1989 - with its presumption that children are telling the truth - in view of how easy it is for false allegations to be made against teachers.(link) 20th April 2000.
Women's Affairs Minister Laila Harre's most bizarre claim is that the New Zealand model of custody laws is 'highly regarded overseas'. We must ask by whom! After all, New Zealand surely has amongst the worst family law in the world. We have the worst death rate for children under one year, the second highest rate of sole parent families in the industrialised world, the worst youth suicide rate and one of the worst teenage pregnancy rates. Overseas research clearly links such social disasters to children only having one parent. (more) 18th April 2000.
'Sorry' to man accused of sex abuse Thirteen years after falsely accusing a solicitor of sexual abuse, the NSW Department of Community Services has expressed its regret for the damage it caused to the man and his family. The man had no contact with his three children for more than five years as a result of the abuse allegations. The department has admitted in court that its investigation was incomplete and unprofessional and that the conclusions reached by its officers were "not soundly based". By Bettina Arndt (link) 15th April 2000.
Longer prison terms panned Judge Ron Young, the Chief District Court Judge, produced statistics yesterday showing New Zealand courts were already severe in their sentencing and said handing out longer sentences would not work. "Save for a few exceptional cases, all of those who are sentenced to prison have got to come out one day. If we want them to come out a lot worse than when they go in then the formula of longer and longer sentences and less and less rehabilitation will virtually guarantee it." (link) However, National is proposing to involve the public in a Sentencing Commission to set guidelines for the Courts in sentencing offenders. (link) 13th April 2000.
Fathers getting off scot free Fourteen thousand domestic purposes beneficiaries cannot or will not name the father of their child. Associate Social Services Minister Ruth Dyson suggests: "There are some obvious reasons, like the woman may be a victim of rape or incest. I mean, tragically, there are more incest cases than I guess most of us would like to consider in New Zealand." (link) 12th April 2000.
Courts: Room for reform The New Zealand Law Society is backing moves to review the court structure, saying there is room for reform. Spokesman Adrian More, says he hopes the review will address issues including the regulations defining which civil cases are covered by either the district or the high court, and women''s limited access to the justice system. (link) Others doubt our own court's ability. "If we're going to change the Privy Council, with respect to our present bench, I do not believe we have the intellectual grunt and firepower within NZ to concentrate on meatier issues," says Labour MP John Tamihere. (link) ACT's Richard Prebble said it shows the Government had a "secret agenda" to radically change New Zealand's Westminster constitution. (link) 12th April 2000.
Mentally ill prison inmates need better treatment or they will continue to be a threat to the community, says Howard League for Penal Reform spokesman Peter Williams QC. On Monday, Corrections Minister Matt Robson apologised to a Christchurch mother whose mentally ill son had mutilated himself three times in Paparua Prison since last Thursday. (link) 12th April 2000.
Register of Sex Offenders Justice Minister Phil Goff says the Government may set up a formal register of sex offenders so they can be watched even after they have served their time. The Minister was responding to concerns by Ken Clearwater from the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust. (link) 12th April 2000.
Why men behave badly Baby boys need more attention than girls and if they do not get it they may develop behavioural problems later in life, a researcher says. Lack of attention may be linked to hyperactivity. The controversial theory will be presented at an international conference in London on parenting by consultant child psychiatrist Dr Sebastian Kraemer later this week. (link) 11th April 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill Debate The Bill is now almost certain to be debated on 10th May. The delay is good news because it gives us more time to generate support for the Bill. The Shared Parenting Bill hangs in the balance. It has many detractors but their arguments are superficial, and their objections can be proven to be incorrect. (more) 9th April 2000.
Solo Mothers Die Young Single mothers have a higher risk of early death than those who live with a partner, say researchers. Women who live alone with their children are 70% more likely to suffer premature death, they found. Their risk of suicide was four times higher and their risk of being a victim of domestic violence was five times higher. (link) 7th April 2000.
Smokescreen Alert The headline debate at the moment focuses on the government's announced intention to extend matrimonial property rights to de facto couples and same sex couples. The Attorney General, Margaret Wilson, alluded to another significant change being planned when interviewed on National Radio. She said that the act needs to be changed because the mothers who have stayed home and looked after the children may not be getting enough when the marriage dissolves. While everyone is busy debating whether the act should cover de facto and same sex relationships, the intention to move toward unequal division of property is not being discussed at all.
Wilson says "The Government proposes extending protections to those couples who have been living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage as determined by the courts for at least three years. There will be options for couples who so desire to opt out of coverage by the new measures as long as they agree to make their own legal arrangements appropriate for any future ending of that relationships." (more) There is already scope to override pre-nuptial agreements. There have been efforts for a long time to block whatever means there are to retain assets brought in to a marriage. Note section 18 of the Act on contribution to the marriage partnership and note section 21, subsection 8: (8) An agreement under this section shall be void in any case where ---(b) The Court is satisfied that it would be unjust to give effect to the agreement. 6th April 2000.
Unequal Property Splits to Increase Judges settling disputes after failed relationships may soon be given discretion to take into account future income and whether one partner sacrificed a career. (link) The Law Society is urging the Government to widely publicise planned changes to the Matrimonial Property Act, which will include provisions for de facto and same-sex couples. Lawyer Vivienne Ullrich says the changes are complex and the Government needs to ensure those affected are aware of what is planned and able to have their say. (link) About 236,000 New Zealanders living as couples for more than three years will have to sign "prenuptial" contracts if they do not want to split their belongings equally when they part. (link) A MENZ Issues article on asset protection is here. Community reaction to the proposal has varied from enthusiasm to wariness. "If a live-in lover left after three or four years he might want half of the house," warns one man. Christchurch Methodist Mission superintendent David Bromell said it raised new issues for older people who chose not to marry a new partner after the death of a spouse. University of Canterbury Students' Association president Jarrod Gilbert said the changed law could have a major impact on students who chose to flat with their partner. (link) The Herald says "Property rights for de facto couples can only be a good thing, especially for their children. There is no quicker way to poverty than when the main income-earner - so often the male - leaves a household." (link) 4th April 2000.
Cabinet considers de facto rights Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson is now proposing further changes to extend the Matrimonial Property Act to cover de facto and same-sex partnerships. (link) Many lawyers welcome the move, but say the definition of de facto will be the tricky part. (link) De facto couples would have the right to "opt out" of dividing their property, provided that was not clearly unfair to one of the parties. (link) Jenny Shipley says "the Government has raised big questions with its plans to change the law to 'more fully address situations where there are likely to be significant disparities in income and living standards.' This sounds like it is a fundamental change to the 50:50 split that New Zealanders have come to rely on. We don't know how far-reaching it will be but it is potentially highly divisive and there hasn't been any consultation with the public." (more) ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks. says: "This Government always talks loudly of giving 'rights' to some, when in reality, it wants to disguise taking away rights of others - in this case the right to choose to not make a commitment that extends to marriage." (more) Christian Heritage Party Leader Graham Capill says "sinister forces have been at work for a very long time to destroy the family. The Gay Liberation Front Manifesto of 1979 stated blatantly, 'We, along with the women's movement, must fight for something more than reform. We must aim at the abolition of the family so that the sexist, male supremacist system can no longer be nurtured there." (more) The Men's Centre North Shore submission to Select Committee on this Act in 1998 is here 3rd April 2000.
The Welfare of Children - In New Zealand, Who Cares? Governor-General, Sir Michael Hardie-Boys is right, a disaster is befalling the New Zealand family. Sadly, there are agencies and individuals, including lawyers, social workers, psychologists, counsellors and bureaucrats who benefit from the present preference for sole custody. They almost exclusively oppose separated parents being empowered by the Shared Parenting Bill to co-operate for the sake of their children, instead of being encouraged to fight over custody as they are at present. Are they more concerned about the welfare of children or their own jobs? (more) 2nd April 2000.
'Please Consider the Children' Dr Newman says she has been surprised by the attitude of Labour and the Alliance who appear to be unwilling to support the Bill, saying they will instead do a review of the Family Court. She says: "While we would welcome such a review, I am concerned that it is a smokescreen to cloud the real issues of the rights of children to keep in contact with both parents - a right that is severely threatened under current family law practice." (more) 2nd April 2000.
Govt Dictates Changes To Property Rights National understands that the Cabinet will tomorrow consider major changes to the way in which matrimonial, de facto and same-sex property rights will be handled, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today. "We strongly believe de facto and same-sex issues should be advanced each with a separate statute so that the special nature of the relationships can be better reflected. (more) 2nd April 2000.
Father's suicide becomes rallying cry for fairness in court Canadian Darrin White committed suicide two weeks ago after a judge ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take-home pay in child support and alimony each month. - Donna Laframboise (link) 1st April 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill Will Fail in part because it requires realistic solutions to both the corrosive politics of domestic violence and the "fiscal responsibility" politics of child support. Keith Rankin. (link) 30th March 2000.
Political correctness makes adoption too hard "What bewilders me about this adoption business is that the only person who seems important is not the child, as it should be, but the birth mother. (link) 30th March 2000.
Shared parenting Mr Maharey appears to be prejudging, rather than understanding, the issues, then seeking to wash his hands of them. (more) 28th March 2000.
How to end the war against divorced dads A small number of changes would go a long way. But they demand courage on the part of politicians who need to realize that the feminist activists and bureaucrats who have been directing public policy on such matters care little about fairness or the best interests of children. They are, instead, intent on holding on to as many advantages as possible for women. Donna Laframboise (link) 28th March 2000.
Church to decide on use of memory therapy The future direction of the Australian Anglican Counselling Service, under review for the past two years over use of techniques such as recovered memory therapy, is expected to be announced by the Anglican Church today. (link) 28th March 2000.
Lesbian Didn't Know Actions Made Friend Afraid This country's highest court has made an interesting ruling, in several respects. To quote the Chief Justice: "...there were too few facts to prove that the defendant knew her actions were making her friend fear for her safety."
It has always been our understanding that the law as applied throughout western jurisdictions was that it didn't matter whether the defendant knew that 'his' actions would make 'her' afraid - her subjective state of fear or harassment was all that needed to be established for the offence to be proved. Too many fathers have lost their children and their homes for a lot less than the facts reported in this case.
Second, this surely leaves our Domestic Violence Act open to a defence by men accused of harassment or intimidation that they didn't know and certainly didn't intend for their actions to cause fear or concern. A real can of worms. (link) 28th March 2000.
Loss of Children "When you lose a child you don't just lose that child, you lose an innocence. ... You lose an opportunity to put a Band-Aid on their knee, to cuddle them when they're hurt, to laugh at them and smile with them." (link) 27th March 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill will receive its first reading in Parliament on Wednesday 5th of April at 5pm. We know that Labour and Alliance will oppose the Shared Parenting Bill. NZ First and the Greens seem to be fence sitting. Act and National are in favour of the Bill. On current voting, it will be lost. (more) Women's Affairs Minister Laila Harré says: "The Bill demonstrates a lack of understanding about current legislation around custody, access and guardianship and is not backed up by evidence" (more) 27th March 2000.
This is madness Divorced fathers who pay their child support find themselves trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare. Donna Laframboise. (link) 27th March 2000.
Pilloried, broke, alone Divorced fathers get a bad rap for not supporting their children. The truth is, many can't. And, tragically, some are driven to desperate measures, including suicide. (link) Second wives' club (link) Donna Laframboise, 25th March 2000.
A review into the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services by former Principal Youth Court Judge Mick Brown will look at how they respond to referrals of child abuse or neglect. (more) 23rd March 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill is postponed again. (more) The Government has decided not to support the Shared Parenting Bill promoted by ACT's Muriel Newman, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.(more) However, it is being accused of using biased and hastily put together briefing papers from the Ministry of Women's Affairs to stop the Bill (more) New Zealand First says it will oppose the Bill if the Government guarantees it will make Family Law reform a priority. (more) 22nd March 2000.
Women's Affairs Minister Laila Harré released briefing papers at a multi-party meeting of Women MPs that show the Shared Parenting Bill is unlikely to achieve its aim of improving the welfare of New Zealand children. (more) 21st March 2000.
Please Actively Support the Shared Parenting Bill! This legislation is the most important family law that has been put before Parliament for decades.(more) 18th March 2000.
Review of rape case overly slow, says accused's sister The sister of two men jailed with another in 1996 for the rape and sodomy of a woman is frustrated that a Ministry of Justice report on their case is still pending, despite evidence produced over a year ago that the accusations could be false. (link) (more). 18th March 2000.
Sisterhood is powerless How feminism has made men's lives safer -- and women's more dangerous. A feminist perspective - "No matter who gets killed, it's wife abuse......And the excuses, if not for brutality then for collective outrage, are increasingly stated with barely concealed hostility, by certain men's groups and fathers' rights organizations, often on the Internet. Hundreds of Web sites dedicated to fathers' rights openly blame the women's movement for their unjust oppression." (link) 14th March 2000.
Shared Parenting Bill Lobbying efforts are still needed (more) 13th March 2000.
Men are new victims says equality chief Men are the new victims of sex discrimination and radical reforms to the equality laws must be made to enable them to achieve the same rights as women, according to Julie Mellor, head of the United Kingdom Equal Opportunities Commission. (link) 13th March 2000.
Damage Control from Sandra Coney "In fact there are not even two 'sides' to this story. There is a truth which has been established through the judicial process and tested by cross-examination, and then there is a construction of allegations, half-truths and insinuations. This Ellis 'case' has been repeated over and over again through the media, so it has accumulated a kind of fake veracity.(more) 12th March 2000.
Disappointment with limited inquiry into Ellis case former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum will be required to evaluate opinions from at least two internationally recognised experts on sexual abuse, and other relevant parties. Justice Minister Goff says a Commission of Inquiry, which would have had the power to summons evidence, was not favoured because it could have led to the questioning of the children. (link)
Mr Ellis' lawyer, Judith Ablett-Kerr, said she was unhappy the inquiry would be narrower than the royal commission she asked for. Important evidence would be excluded, such as police reports,original reports relating to police, and later information concerning a detective.
Waikato University senior law lecturer and child advocate Wendy Ball spoke yesterday to tired parents and emotional children involved in the Christchurch Civic Creche case. "This is the sixth or seventh bite he's had of the cherry," she said. (link) 11th March 2000.
Terms of Reference for Ministerial Inquiry (here) 10th March 2000.
Other news items about Peter Ellis are posted here (link)
(more) on this site about Peter Ellis.
Lionel Tiger wrote an essay complaining about the increasing politicization of book reviews, especially in the sex area..... The postmodern disease had begun its viral spread, so that a person's sex, skin color, genital habits, ethnicity, etc., became salient even if these characteristics had little or nothing to do with their work. The Unholy Trinity of race/class/sex as prime causal movers was establishing its moral hegemony. (link) 10th March 2000.
The Man Question Cathy Young discusses 'Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male', by Susan Faludi, and 'Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say', by Warren Farrell. She says: "The debate about gender has been, by and large, a debate about women. For centuries, the 'Woman Question' had no male counterpart; men's condition was seen as the universal human norm, and little thought was given to how equality would change male roles." (link) March 2000.
Appeals loom after DNA test blunders A string of criminal cases are likely to be appealed after two reports on DNA botch-ups released yesterday (link) High profile defence attorney Judith Ablett-Kerr QC remains concerned about the use of DNA in trials, and believes DNA evidence can no longer being treated as definitive proof.(link) 10th March 2000.
Shared Responsibility; Negotiated No-Fault Custody Muriel Newman should be congratulated for her shared parenting bill, presented to Parliament last week. An Act MP, she is entering into a minefield of family and gender politics, which means that the bill will probably fail. Keith Rankin. (link) 9th March 2000.
Inside the Love Lab - psychologist John Gottman's goal is to solve that long-standing mystery: What makes some marriages thrive and others explode into shards of acrimony and loneliness? (link) March 2000.
Human Rights Commission Appoints Women's Advocate To celebrate International Women's Day, the Human Rights Commission has announced the appointment of a Women's Advocate, Lana Hart. The objective of the Women's Advocate role is to advance the human rights of women in New Zealand. (more) 8th March 2000.
Justice for Bernard Baran - the first person convicted in the wave of daycare-sex-abuse and satanic-ritual-abuse trials that swept the USA in the mid-eighties. While most of those convicted have now been released, Baran is still in jail. (link) 8th March 2000.
Trial on prostate cancer world leader A big medical trial involving hundreds of Australian and New Zealand men could put New Zealand at the forefront of prostate cancer research.(link) 8th March 2000.
Sociobiology, now called Evolutionary Psychology, is often said to be a boys club of gender stereotypes. How come so many of its star theorists are women? (link) 7th March 2000.
Surprise over teacher Education Minister Trevor Mallard says he cannot understand how a teacher is still in charge of a classroom a week after she admitted having sex with a former student. (link) 6th March 2000.
Sexuality, in particular, engaged the imaginations of women thinkers, writers, and artists at the last turn of the century.The militant feminist Frances Swiney went so far as to call sperm a "virulent poison," and argued that even marital intercourse should occur only about once every three years, solely for the sake of reproduction. Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant, on the other hand, imagined a future where women had exactly the same rights to experimentation, prostitution and initiative as men.The turn of the millennium seems unlikely to realize many of these feminist aspirations. (link) March 2000.
Social Worker Register The Minister of Social Services, Steve Maharey wants social workers to be registered so standards of conduct can be independently monitored. (link) 5th March, and (link) 6th March 2000.
DNA Testing: The Next Big Crime-Busting Breakthrough in the United States, efforts to expand DNA testing are lagging, in part because of the relentless, if ill-founded, opposition of the American Civil Liberties Union. It's a shame, because not only does the use of DNA testing in law enforcement promise to put more of the guilty behind bars; it has also worked to free innocent people imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit. (link) March 2000.
Shared Parenting Gaining Strong Backing A Bill to put children's needs first when parents separate is gaining strong support within the community and its sponsor, ACT's Muriel Newman, says the next three weeks are critical to the Shared Parenting Bill making it to a Parliamentary Select Committee. The Bill was due to be debated by Parliament for the first time last night but will now be heard on Wednesday March 22. (The Bill is here) 2nd March 2000.
Has A Child Been Molested? By explaining the history of the child sexual abuse prevention movement, and exposing the fatal romance between mental health and law enforcement, psychiatrist Lee Coleman and attorney Patrick Clancy describe how caring and intelligent people, including police officers, social workers, child therapists, teachers and even parents, may unwittingly create false accusations of sexual abuse. The result is a new form of state-sponsored abuse of both children and those unjustly accused. (link to review) 2nd March 2000.
Child-advocate call 'premature' suggests Justice Minister Goff, when Children's Commissioner Roger McClay claims that while Ellis' victims had the right to be heard, the Government should appoint someone to speak on their behalf if an inquiry was launched. McClay hits the nail right on it's head when he asks: "Is our justice system really so woefully hopeless, or worse still corrupt, as to allow such a miscarriage of justice? Or do people just have trouble believing the word of children?" (more) 2nd March 2000.
Children's rights upheld at last "The right of children to receive love and care from both of their parents, as guaranteed under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, will become a reality if the Shared Parenting Bill is passed into law", Families Apart Require Equality (FARE) spokesperson, Darryl Ward, said today.(more) 29th February 2000.
Rape is not a crime of violence and power, as social scientists tell us, it's motivated simply by sexual desire. In fact, rape is not even abnormal- it's a mechanism for spreading genes that is as much a part of the natural landscape of sexual behaviour as courtship and flirting. Women will find real knowledge about rape more useful than all the ideologically driven stuff that they get in rape crisis centres. New Scientist interviews Randy Thornhill, a biologist from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. (link) 19th February 2000.
Private Member's bill on Shared Parenting, sponsored by Dr Muriel Newman of ACT, has been drawn from the ballot. This means it will be debated in Parliament on 1st March 2000. THIS BILL NEEDS THE ACTIVE SUPPORT OF YOU/YOUR ORGANISATION PLEASE! (more) (Dr Newman's Bill) 18th February.
DNA & the Death Penalty Last week, Gov. George Ryan of Illinois issued a moratorium on executions. He was shaken by news that in the past decade Illinois had freed 13 men from death row after the state had determined their innocence. When DNA or other evidence reveals that a man who was only days or months away from execution was actually innocent, even staunch advocates of the ultimate penalty must pause. (link) 16th February 2000.
Research into Diagnostic Test for Prostate Cancer NZ has the sixth-highest rate of prostate cancer in the world. Deaths could increase to more than 1100 a year over the next 20 years. Doctors have begun work on establishing normal PSA levels for Pakeha, Maori, and Pacific Island men. (link) 14th February 2000.
Melanie Phillips knew that there was a huge amount of evidence that family disintegration and re-formation did incalculable damage to children, and that there was far greater risk of abuse of children or violence between adults in cohabiting or serial relationships. So since marriage, by and large, was a protection for both children and adults, she thought that the state should promote it as a social good. She was told that she was reactionary, authoritarian and right-wing.Here she argues that she is an impeccable liberal. (link) 14th February 2000.
Call for More Resources for Social Workers Child, Youth and Family social workers are juggling an average of 21 cases each, raising concerns about the adequacy of care some children are getting. Commissioner for Children Roger McClay reveals: "Quite frankly, procedures aren't always getting followed because there's not a lot of time." (link) 14th February 2000.
Cathy Young reviews A Natural History of Rape The urge to rape, assert biologist Randy Thornhill of the University of New Mexico and anthropologist Craig Palmer of the University of Colorado, is part of men's biological programming. Thornhill and Palmer challenge the feminist dogma that rape is not about sex but about power and misogyny. Drawing on evolutionary psychology, they explain rape as a reproductive strategy: our male ancestors were more likely to perpetuate their genes if they stopped at nothing, including force, to spread their seed. (link) 10th February 2000.
COSA Nth newsletter Feb-Mar 2000 Our Message is that unscientific, unethical and unsafe practices are unacceptable. Those who practice them must be challenged to expose their hollow claims to special knowledge and expertise. (here) 6th February 2000.
Peter Ellis petitions for a Royal Commission of Inquiry Justice Minister Phil Goff said he would wait for officials' advice before deciding whether an inquiry into the child abuse case should be held. (link) 4th February 2000.
"There are some clear problems," he said. "I am talking about contamination of evidence and the way in which evidence is acquired from child witnesses." (link) Herald editorial says: "It is no longer enough to say that "little ones do not lie" about a subject so unpleasant. They may not lie but nor do they easily distinguish truth from imagination. (link) 3rd February 2000.
Goff may eventually recommend a less formal Ministerial Inquiry.(link)
Peter Ellis was freed on parole today (link)
Ellis' mother Lesley Ellis says she wants the parents of the creche children to join the campaign to clear her son's name. "I would like to see them become part of the commission of inquiry. What a difference that would make to their children's lives if we can get this case cleared up."
Commissioner for Children Roger McClay disagrees. "He was convicted, he's been before many judges, he's appealed, he's a paedophile, he's sinned, he's paid his price. I want to continue to think now about the children. I have no regard for him." (link) (more on Peter Ellis.) 2nd February 2000.
Sex Abuse Law Change the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, welcomes a law change that will allow women to be prosecuted for indecently assaulting boys. (link) 31st January 2000.
Feminism has failed It's time for a gender equality movement - Cathy Young (link) 26th January 2000.
Protection orders misused Wellington criminal barrister Greg King has raised concerns that some of the seven thousand domestic protection orders issued each year by the courts are being misused. (link) 26th January 2000.
Ground-breaking prostate treatment last week Tauranga urologist Peter Gilling performed keyhole surgery to remove a cancer-infected prostate. (link) 25th January 2000.
Protest as father charged for sending gift Mana men's rights group protested outside Wellington District Court yesterday after a man was charged with breaching a protection order by sending his daughter a Christmas present. (more) 21st January 2000.
60% Impotent after prostate removal The level of impotence among men who undergo radical prostatectomies is much higher than previously thought, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (link) 19th January 2000.
Does yes really mean yes? In America, argues Tessa Mayes, almost anything can be labelled a sex crime. (link) 18th January 2000.
Tall men get the girls research by Polish scientists shows that tall men are more more likely to get married and have more children than shorter men.(link) 13th January 2000.
Youth Mental Health New figures show more than half the 14 to 16-year-olds dealing with the department of Child, Youth and Family have multiple mental disorders. Many commit suicide. (link)and also (link) 7th January 2000.
Post-Trauma counselling may be harmful British researchers say debriefing sessions used by emergency services may actually increase the trauma.(link) 6th January 2000.
Male pregnancy rollercoaster "Men accompany the mother of their child on a nine-month hormonal roller coaster, it has been discovered. Canadian researchers have shown that expectant fathers' hormones fluctuate up and down, mimicking their partners' levels...." Who said men were unfeeling brutes? (link) 6th January 2000.
New family law journal online The publishers hope to build the NUANCE journal into a vehicle and body of work that can challenge the anti-father family law rhetoric and outcomes.(link) First issue (Dec 1999) includes:
- Is a mismatch between family choices and government policy hurting children? Vincent Patrick and Antonia Feitz (abstract)
- The Price of Safety at All Costs Felicity A Goodyear-Smith and Tannis M Laidlaw (abstract)
- Gender, policy and social engineering Stuart Birks (abstract)
- The joint select committee into certain family law issues: five years later Robert Kelso (abstract)
- The Duluth Wheel domestic-violence re-education programme - a revised methodology for generic use Tom Graves (abstract)
- William Pollock Real boys: rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood reviewed by Errol Vieth (link to PDF) 5th Jan.
Broccoli, Cabbage Seen As Prostate Protectors Eating lots of broccoli, or even coleslaw, may help protect men from prostate cancer, but consuming tomato products probably will not, researchers said on Tuesday. (link) 5th January 2000.
Nuke Veteran's Health Studied A study has been carried out to isolate and identify unique health and genetic problems suffered by New Zealand''s nuclear test veterans. (link) 4th January 2000.
Is the environment hurting men? Rapidly falling sperm counts in the United States. Rising rates of genital defects in male infants. Unprecedented numbers of cases of testicular cancer among young American males. Scientists are increasingly worried that these problems are being caused by environmental estrogens, man-made chemicals capable of interfering with the hormones that regulate the male reproductive system. (link) 3rd January 2000.
The Decline of Males In addition, and not necessarily instead of the above observations reported, Lional Tiger in his latest book 'The Decline of Males', (reviewed here) suggests that lower sperm count and other indicators are the result of the Pill, which gives men, unconsciously but nevertheless effectively, the [false] biological signal that these women are already pregnant. One way to test this would be to see if the chant 'there aren't any good men around any more' is more frequent among Pill takers. Tiger's hypothesis would predict so. But then, it all depends how you define 'a good man'. 3rd January 2000.
Leaders call for an end to the divisions within New Zealand society The Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys has urged New Zealanders to make a resolution for the new millennium - a commitment to eliminate injustice and inequity. Helen Clark calls for tolerance, and a commitment to justice. (link) 1st January 2000.
News From Previous Years:
Masculinist Evolution New Zealand
- promoting a clearer understanding of men's experience -