Fathers' Day Parade September 2000 - Photos & Videos
Muriel Newman in the Act van encourages people to join the parade.(1,080 KB MPEG)
Bagpipes lead the way into Aotea Square (1,152 KB MPEG)
Darrell Carlin of MATCH calls for equality (872 KB MPEG)
Only a handful of men and their children turned out for the annual Father's Day march and gathering - among them Labour MP Dover Samuels, who walked silently carrying a placard reading "Children Are Our Future."
Mr Samuels said he had come down from the Far North especially for the march. "There are a lot of Maori families broken apart and solo parents," he said. "I think that what the people and what the fathers are asking for today is a recognition of their rights as fathers."
Act MP Muriel Newman used the occasion to launch a citizens-initiated referendum petition on shared parenting. The petition asks for parents who are separated or divorced to have equal rights to the custody of their children. She said that since the Government rejected her Shared Parenting Bill in its first reading, there had been a huge groundswell of support. Dr Newman was confident the 250,000 signatures needed to force a nationwide referendum would be found.
"Shared Parenting is an idea whose time has come", said Dr Newman. "Experience in the USA and Europe has shown that given active support, the move to Shared Parenting is unstoppable.
"Since the governments recent rejection of the Shared Parenting Bill on its first reading in the House, there has been a huge groundswell of support. Grass roots organisations around the country recognise that Shared Parenting provides children, who are the victims of family breakdown, with the on-going support of both their mother, their father, their grand-parents and other extended family as well."
"They are right behind the CIR petition and have pledged their help in collecting the 250,000 signatures we need to force the government to hold a nation-wide referendum. The CIR petition asks '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 the custody of their children) be passed by Parliament?'."
When the petition succeeds, the government will have to admit that it is ideologically driven on family law issues and has failed to listen to the voice of the people, said Dr Newman.
More pictures of speakers here
promote the referendum!
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Slide show of parade pictures
thanks to Paul Robertson
Regular protests outside Family Courts began in 2001