Russell Brown on Nick and Katherine

Russell Brown has pointed out that in the family court case which sparked the Nick Smith contempt charge, one has not heard the cousin’s side of the story, and that family court has to often decide very hard cases.

I think Russell has missed a hugely significant point though, which makes this different to normal family court cases. Most cases are between the two parents of a child, and yes they are often very difficult and messy.

But this was between both parents on one side, and a cousin who was a temporary care-giver. Unless there is concern for the safety of the child (and there has never been any suggestion of this), then this should not even be a debatable issue. Surely, surely, the starting point for any decision is that a child should be with their parents, unless this would place them at risk. This is hardly controversial. If one takes the decision in this case to an extreme you could have nannies claim custody of kids they look after because they spend more time with the kids.

Russell also blogs later in the week that MP Katherine Rich should “get a life” for demanding that Ruth Dyson resign as a Minister over calling her an “irresponsible tart”.

The only problem is she did no such thing. She has only asked for a proper apology, which even Russell admits should have been given. The headline of the Press article linked to by Russell states “Katherine Rich has called on the Christchurch MP to relinquish her portfolio” but you will note there is no quote from Katherine stating this.

It should be noted that resigning from one portfolio is not at all the same as resigning as a Minister. But in this case even that wasn’t called for. A journalist asked Katherine if Dyson should resign as Women’s Affairs Minister and the response I understand was along the lines of how she would have to decide if her comments were compatible with keeping the portfolio.

So I’m still somewhat perplexed at how Russell criticises Katherine more than Dyson, despite Dyson being the one who called her an “irresponsible tart”. I can only imagine the fury and condemnation that would have happened if the situation was reversed. I mean for example Gerry Brownless responding to a taunt from John Tamihere was so bad it was making the country being “flushed down the toilet?

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