Family First is supporting the Green Party’s call for the Families Commission to publish research which has been funded by the Commission, and which highlights the concerns of solo parents on the DPB.
“It appears that this research has been muzzled by the government through the Ministry of Social Development and the Families Commission simply because they don’t agree with its conclusions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This is simply state censorship at its worst.”
The report by the Rotorua People’s Advocacy Centre, which has been read by Family First, highlights a number of problems regarding the work-life balance for sole parent families.
“It raises concerns about a number of issues which Family First believes are putting huge pressure on sole parented families, “ says Mr McCoskrie, “including the lack of adequate income and the challenge to meet basic requirements such as decent housing, a secure and nutritious food supply, sufficient clothing, adequate furniture and appliances, medical expenses, dental care and electricity.”
“Also of concern is the feeling expressed by sole parents of ‘sheer relentlessness of doing everything on their own’ – felt most acutely by those with two or more children, the lack of adult emotional and social support, and the apparent stigmatisation and prejudicial treatment received from staff at Work and Income.”
“Most significantly, the report argues that the ‘work involved in parenting needs to be formally recognised and acknowledged.’ and highlights the concept of the ‘double shift’ of parenting and full-time work.”
“These are all crucial issues which the government should be listening to, as they reflect the concerns expressed by many families (including both sole- and two-parent families) in the community.”
“Unless we can have an open and honest debate with all views and research put forward on strengthening families, work-life balance, and the vital role of parents, families will be the big losers,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Ironically, the Families Commission should be one of the strongest advocates for this to happen.”