Date: Wed, 21 Dec
2005 08:00:15 +1300
From: "Jim Bailey" <Jim@HandsOnEqualParent.org.nz>
Subject: NZ - So called Runaway Fathers
- Thank-you Pat Booth at leased we
got a mention
Lousy partner - but a great father
07 December 2005
By PAT BOOTH
Suburban Newspapers consulting editor
Pat Booth continues writing about
Images from either extreme of a major
community issue - hurt, bitter mothers
who believe they have been abandoned
without reasonable income to carry
the babies of broken relationships
and marriages; angry fathers who see
themselves as refugees from a justice
and welfare system, which they say
makes a bad situation far worse
And sadly, only a minority like this:
"Greetings Pat. I read your column
about runaway fathers who abandon
their children both financially and
emotionally, and want to comment on
"I am one of the luckier single
mothers. I have two children, my youngest
is 11. I have been separated from
their father for the past 10 years.
For the past six I have worked a fulltime
job, with no extra financial support
from Winz. Over this time, their father
has never missed a single support
payment (in fact if the payment is
not paid on time each month, he rings
IRD to find out WHY!).
"Even though our marriage failed,
we have both been able to keep the
children as the most important consideration
in any decision that is made. The
children love their father and see
him weekly and spend most holidays
with him. We do live 25km apart on
opposite sides of Auckland.
"For both of us, juggling the
children, and our own activities,
requires a level of commitment that
we are both very proud to have achieved,
and it has sometimes been really hard
work to keep communication lines open.
"Both children have a larger
circle of friends, broader range of
experiences, more quality time with
each parent, than they would have
had had I stayed with their father.
(He will drive across Auckland just
to go on school outings. All they
have to do is ask.)
"I am proud to say that even
though my ex made a lousy partner,
he is the most committed parent that
I could wish for.
"I know that both children are
going to grow into emotionally healthy
adults, as they have a closer relationship
with their father now than if we had
stayed living together.
I am sure there are plenty of selfish
men out there, who don't understand
the word responsibility, especially
when it comes to having children,
and unfortunately society suffers
in the long run.
"But, there are also many wonderful
men who love their children and want
the best for them. So let's not forget
the fathers who do support their children
and do their very best to see them
grow up into well adjusted adults.
Kind regards, Dianne."
Recap: The original column highlighted
That the government planned a law
change to wipe out half of the current
total of $1 billion owed in unpaid
child support after marriage and relationship
breakups. This would be achieved by
doing away with the penalty fees for
non-payment included in that total.
The total amount of $1b represents
a doubling of the debt - from $400
million - in 2000. The highest domestic
totals owing are in Manukau and Takapuna
That more than $312m of the total
is owed by "non-custodial parents"
overseas. New Revenue Minister Peter
Dunne says the plan "provides
an incentive for non-custodial parents
who stopped paying child support after
being overwhelmed by penalty payments
to start contributing again".
First reactions included: Some mothers
believe they are owed thousands. One
quoted $20,000 from years of non-payment;
absent fathers who reacted angrily
to labels like "bolters ... runaways"
felt a biased court and inefficient,
punitive enforcement system left them
Others include more letters like this
from the founder of the HandsOnEqualParent
Trust, headed "Pat Booth ought
to be prosecuted for spreading these
misandrous lies", which detailed
his personal experience and added:
"You have still got it wrong,
Pat. I honour any man/woman who refuses
to pay so-called `child support'.
So-called child support is a Parent
TAX that has never done any child
any good. So-called child support
supports the `Families in Anguish'
Industries and the De-Fathering of
our Nation ... You are adding to the
300,000 kids who spent last night
without their own dad."
His reply noted he had forwarded the
column to a variety of organisations
worldwide, including California, Scotland
and Australia, and asked them to respond
This came from Leeds: "The deterrence
to a father against taking an active
part in his children's lives, post-separation,
is massive and systemic in the United
Kingdom, in New Zealand, in the United
States, well-nigh everywhere in the
Western world. We are not treated
as full and equal citizens. Our children
are taught to despise us ...
"I am writing as the son of a
single mother family, with a mother
and other siblings who I supported
and defended, and the father of a
child I have been fighting to see
for over 10 years, although I have
simply attempted to be as responsible
towards her as my mother was towards
me. We grew up in relative poverty
because family lawyers took our money.
"I have no truck with men's groups.
I am for equal parenting, not partisan
parenting. I have every sympathy with
single mothers and indeed single fathers
who have to look after children on
their own - and even more so for those
who are denied any part in their children's
lives. I have been fighting for those
years to be a parent to my own daughter,
a situation that would never have
arisen without the State supporting
an alienating mother, as we had a
very happy separated family for three
years before court intervention.
"I am living the worst punishment
you could inflict on a loving parent
and child - it is practically unendurable.
The pain arises precisely from the
fact that I remain loyal to my daughter
and do not shirk my parental responsibility,
in an official world which is utterly
hostile to me doing so. From my perspective,
that of a parent who has not abandoned
my child, child abandonment is utterly
"Under present unjust laws, fathers
will frequently be serving their children's
interests better by abandoning them
than if they stay around."
This from DADD (Dads Against Divorce
Discrimination) Concord,US: "Fathers
are not abandoning their children,
they are being driven out of their
lives by feminazi judges more interested
in perpetuating their communistic
`Transfer of Wealth' scheme as an
entitlement for women, than the best
interests of the children.
"The amount of money owed is
not rising because more fathers are
deliberately withholding support.
It rises because the war against fathers
is proceeding apace. More and more
fathers are being victimized by the
Family Court ... It is the duty of
every concerned citizen to resist
the tyranny of government, and the
`transfer of wealth' scheme is just
that; tyranny. So, for all those aggrieved
fathers who DO resist the order to
pay those socialist orders, I say,
`Good on 'ya, mate'!"
From others: "According to your
column, women never have affairs,
women never run off with another man,
taking the kids with them, women never
kick their partner//husband out in
order to have a relationship with
someone else. No, according to you
it's always the man's fault. Men are
`bolters', treat their children callously
and turn their back on the woman they
left. Women never turn their back
on the man.
"No doubt you also agree with
the judicial system that penalizes
the man, hands down restrictive orders
based on evidence from only one party?
And of course there is no such thing
as a vindictive woman so everything
she says must be believed 100 percent.
Well, that's the way the courts and
Pat Booth see it.
"Reality is a totally different
story. Courts hold hearings and make
rulings, despite in many cases not
seeing the man concerned. They place
full weight on a biased affidavit
from the supposed female `victim'.
Investigation? Well, in many cases
that's carried out by the woman's
legal counsel so that's hardly objective
either. Men must then spend hundreds
of dollars in order to have another
hearing just to hear their side.
"Various ministers of justice
see no fault in this totally biased
system. On top of this, we have Inland
Revenue that arbitrarily sets child
support with no weight given to the
man's actual living expenses.
"Or perhaps, you can explain
to your readers how one lives on $11,000
gross a year. Because that's all Inland
Revenue allow. They will take a share
of the rest. In addition, Inland Revenue
works its calculation on gross pay
despite this not being what the man
gets in his hand. So, child support
is calculated on PAYE that Inland
Revenue already gets. I guess you
see this as fair as well?
"So, if a man wishes to try and
restart his life and to escape the
millstone around his neck that is
the Family Court and Inland Revenue
and to do this he goes overseas, I
say good luck to him."
*s* "I have spent nine years
on the benefit with the accompanying
humiliations of dealing with Winz.
Nine years struggling to maintain
the family on a low income while retraining
and putting myself into debt to do
so, while the children's father can
afford to drive a nice vehicle and
go on overseas holidays with a new
partner whose children are grown.
"At the same time he is a vocal
advocate for men's rights to be involved
in their children's lives and can
talk knowledgeably about the results
for children deprived of being parented
by their fathers.
"There are many mothers out there
like me and many men out there like
him. What these men don't seem to
realize is that whatever income I
have goes to support the children
and pay for their needs, while they
can flash their money around on presents
to impress the children and on holidays.
Just when is the government and society
going to make them accountable and
make them pay up?"
This significant and revealing correspondence
is closed - but, unfortunately, the
major issue for society and its children,
the individual anguish which is so
much a part of the problem, is still
wide open. And these questions are
What is the explanation for the $600m
increase over six years in the unpaid
child support debt? What impact is
it having on the parents and families
involved? Are the complaints justified
in claiming bias in the Family Court?
What action is planned to make the
system work for all three groups involved,
fathers, mothers and all those dependent
children - other than the questionable
tactic of simply wiping $400m from
the total owing?
* To contact Pat Booth email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All replies are open for publication
unless marked Not For Publication.