National Party on Fathering - Election 2005

This is the response from National to questions put by the NZ Father and Child Society.
Click here to see thequestions. (PDF, 95k)

1. a. The Hon Bill English, National's spokesman on Education is querying why there are not more male teachers in schools. If more men could be encouraged to take up teaching, that may be the catalyst for fathers to take a greater interest in the schooling of their children.

b. Statistics show that` many of the young men who take their own lives are involved with Child, Youth and Family. The National Party believes children whose upbringing has had equal input from both father and mother, are better balanced and grow up better able to cope with any difficulty in life.

c. The latest statistics I have show that female public servants overall outnumber males by 12% . However, at managerial level (presumably the level that hires staff), the males outnumber the females by 19%. If female social workers outnumber males, this may reflect a politically correct attitude on the part of male Public Service Managers who believe they've got to be seen to operate an equal opportunity environment and over-compensate by hiring more females.

2. a. National believes that children need the influence of both parents in their lives, whether they live together or are separated. In cases where the parents are separated, an uncooperative parent can cause difficulties but National will emphasise the importance of both parents in children's lives.

b. If a mother is entitled to paid parental leave but, through work commitments needs to return to her job, it seems fair that the father should be able to take up the balance of the leave. However, National is not addressing this issue at present.

3. a. It is my understanding that publicly funded support services are available at present to both parents, and fathers shouldn't be shy of accepting help offered in good faith.

b. There are a small amount of cases of violence by women against men and, although there are places where women can get help to manage their anger, just as men can get access to this sort of help, it is only right that the Family Court should recognise the actions of these women, who may have been the victims of violence themselves and then take out their frustrations on their children.

c. Unfortunately evidence is well documented that many fathers are accused either erroneously or maliciously of mistreating their children or failing to contribute to their welfare. Taking away the secrecy surrounding Family Court cases should go towards rectifying this anomaly, and if it does not, more scrutiny needs to be applied to such cases.

d. I have received many communications from both mothers and fathers which document instances of the contributing parent failing in his or her financial obligations towards their children. There are many anomalies where fathers, for instance, earn a very large salary but only pay the basic amount to the custodial parent; and there are cases where fathers pay a very fair amount but the children see little of it. I hope to bring about legislation which will have the fairest outcomes for the children.

e. Yes, I believe fathers still have to be responsible for their children, but, taking into account the answer to 3.d above, I hope to bring about a partnership of equal sharing in the upbringing of the children.

4. If a father questions the paternity he is faced with, it is only fair that the relationship should be proved by DNA testing.

5. My message to young men today is "choose your life partner carefully".

MP Clevedon
National Spokeswoman on Social Welfare
and Spokeswoman on the Family

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