A really boring sounding piece of legislation was introduced to Parliament last week – the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill. At first glance, it is hardly a show-stopper, or something to get too excited about, or so it would seem. The Bill is actually straight out of the UnitedFuture playbook, making significant changes to supporting families and children.
For example, it recognises that parents with shared custody of their child or children effectively act as sole parents and it allows them more flexibility and choice in how they invest time with their children, without intruding on their personal circumstances. It also upholds the intrinsic value of a child and recognises a fundamental principle that, as a country, our goal is to ensure the long-term wellbeing of children. This is right in line with the family-centred approach that UnitedFuture has long championed.
Families and communities in their diversity are the basic core of our society, and when they function well, the country functions well. As a party that wants to ensure our families and children can get the best start in life and experience the full opportunities our country has to offer, we have been very happy to work with the government on the development of this legislation.
When I was I New York recently I met up with Nick Clegg, former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats. We both lamented the fate of centrist parties in our two countries, but agreed we still had a role and that our challenge was to inspire people to our cause. Family and community policy, making life better for people, now and in the future, is an important way to do so.
Finally, on a sad note, I want to acknowledge the recent death of Auckland stalwart Ken Smith. Ken was an active and loyal member of our Auckland team, who will be sorely missed. My condolences to his wife and family.
Peter Dunne, Party Leader, MP for Ohariu, Minister of Internal Affairs & Associate Health Minister