Media Release 20 January 2011
Family First NZ is labeling a report on children’s rights in NZ as an ideologically misguided and irrelevant talkfest, and says that their ideas will do nothing to strengthen families in NZ.
“While the report is quite right to highlight NZ’s appalling child abuse record, they incorrectly link this to the perceived lack of ‘rights’ of children, the failed anti-smacking legislation, and the ‘invisibility’ of children in legislation – whatever that means,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Family First is rejecting the UN’s call for a Ministry for Children and is repeating its call for a Minister of Families.
“You cannot deal with issues affecting children without seeing them in the context of the family they are being raised in. Obesity experts acknowledge the role of parents in modeling appropriate diet and being the ‘gatekeepers of the family food supply’. Child abuse reports all show that family structure and parental lifestyle are huge contributors to the risk of a child being physically, mentally or sexually abused. And poverty research shows that the greatest determinant of whether a child is exposed to poverty is the income level and its source, lifestyle, and spending patterns of the child’s parents.”
“The UN has failed to focus on the more important issues of family structure, rates of marriage and family breakdown, and comprehending that a message of rights to young people without a message of responsibility is a recipe for disaster and undermines the role and authority of parents.”
“Governments have tinkered with Families Commissions and the UN-sanctioned Children’s Commissioner, both which have been unable to, or have failed to, represent the concerns and needs of families.”
“For the UN committee to call for the anti-smacking law to be even more stringent is a warning bell for NZ parents as to the ultimate intention of this legislation – to ban any form of physical correction, even for preventing dangerous behaviour, and to deal harshly with parents who do use a swat or smack.”
“It’s time we stopped paying lip service to our most important asset – strong families. And it’s time we stopped listening to the UN on family issues.”
“This latest UN report scores an F. The focus should be the role and rights of Families. Children will be the natural beneficiaries,” says Mr McCoskrie.