Families Commission Dictates To Associations
(10 December 2008)
10 DECEMBER 2008 - Planned to coincide with a public protest on Thursday, December 11 2008, the protest organiser, Benjamin Easton, of a father's coalition had joined with other associates in delegation to meet with the new Families Commissioner Jan Pryor. In the order of negotiating the content of that meeting the Commission had determined that they would refuse to hear any discussions in relation to the plight of fathers in the Family Court.
Mr Easton and other Wellington coalition minded fathers have requested to meet with the Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Boshier, after his public refusal to meet with the group in 2007. The fathers are clearly frustrated that after a year long maintained plea to meet with the top judge the request continues to fall on deaf ears. "The problem" says Mr Easton "is that the matters we want to bring to the judge's attention have not been responded to in any other public or political forum. It is easy to say that the public have a right to the freedom of speech but when no-one in the working bureaucracy gives time to that speech the entrenched right has little value.
Besides appealing for the Commission to broker a meeting with the principal judge the issues to be raised by the delegation of four fathers included gender equality versus gender equity and recognition of Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Mr Easton was on the proposed agenda to talk about legal and administrative neglects regarding PAS, a conflict against a parent, involving a child. Yet, just 48 hours before the protest and from there on the confirmed meeting, the father's organiser for the meeting received a phone call from the Commission's Executive Officer Paul Curry. "Mr Curry advised me" says Mr Jackson, "that if there were any protests held on the day of the meeting then the meeting would be cancelled".
In direct response to this extraordinary stance Mr Easton has withdrawn from the meeting. "The Commission, here, are deeper abrogating their responsibilities to the New Zealand Human Rights Act 1990" he says. "They are excluding the right of association with a protest or the protestors. PAS is about an inflamed breach against an association between child and parent, so it is enormously ironic and significant that the countries Families Commission is poisoning my given right as a father to directly protest against a rampant nanny state. It is also directly inconsistent with their statutory obligation".
Mr Jackson and the two remaining fathers of the delegation have no intention of not attending the meeting after the Commission's refusal relative to protests on the same day. "If the Commission intend to pursue a matter as totalitarian, over the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, "says the Wellington New Zealand Republican Party candidate Justin Harnish, also in the delegation, "then they open our new government to the intolerance of their fellow countrymen and women. If our associate Mr Easton wishes to protest" continues Mr Harnish, "then that is his time honoured and democratic right and that must not, for any price be interfered with. It is unfortunate that Mr Easton decided to withdraw from the meeting".