National party leader Don Brash has acknowledged today (in his speech to the National Party Northern Region) what Family First has highlighted for many months – that there is an epidemic of fatherlessness in NZ.
“According to Statistics NZ figures, we are fast heading towards 3/4 of all Maori children and 1/2 of European children growing up in a house without a dad, ” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First.
“Yet the solution is quite clear,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Scientific research is unanimous on a number of conclusions regarding marriage – that marriage increases the likelihood that fathers have good relationships with their children and lowers the risk of alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse.”
Conversely, parental divorce or non-marriage appears to increase children’s risk of school failure, the risk of suicide, psychological distress, and most significantly, delinquent and criminal behaviour.
According to The Heritage Foundation, an influential US research institute, an analysis of social science literature over 30 years shows that the rise in violent crime parallels the rise in families abandoned by fathers. A 10% increase in the percentage of children living in single-parent homes lead typically to a 17% increase in juvenile crime.
Family First calls for policies which acknowledge the importance of dads in their child’s life, which strengthen marriage, and encourage fathers to be actively involved in the raising of their children. This includes the support of
Family relationship centres e.g. Ian Grant’s Parents Centre
Pre-marriage counselling and Marriage refresher courses
Abandoning the concept of no fault divorce
“Kids need their dads. Don Brash has acknowledged that today. Delivering dads to their kids is going to take an honest assessment of the benefits of marriage,” says Mr McCoskrie.