Lei v Lei [2020] NZFC 7686

Published 11 May 2022

Application for relocation — safety of children — objectionable material — pornography addiction — Care of Children Act 2004, s 5 — Films Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993, s 131A — Kacem v Bashir [2010] NZSC 112, [2011] 2 NZLR 1 — D v S [2002] NZFLR 116 — Stadniczenko v Stadniczenko [1995] NZFLR 493 — S v O [2006] NZFLR 1 — Brown v Argyll [2006] NZFLR 705 — L v A (No 2) (2003) 23 FRNZ 602 — United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The applicant mother sought permission from the Court to relocate the parties' children from the North Island to the South Island. Both parties had repartnered and the applicant was pregnant with her partner's child, and the partner lived in the South Island. The respondent father opposed the application. In considering an application for relocation a court had to take into account the principles in s 5 of the Care of Children Act. Of particular relevance here was the issue of the children's safety in s 5(a). There were allegations from the mother that the father had engaged in inappropriate online relationships with underage girls and had objectionable material on his electronic devices. An investigation by Oranga Tamariki and the Police concluded that there was no objectionable material and there were no care and protection concerns for the parties' children. The respondent did admit to an adult porn addiction; however, this was not illegal. In assessing the mother's reasons for wanting to move, the Judge found that there was some inconsistency with her submissions: she claimed the father posed a risk to the children, but that if permitted to relocate she would allow the father to have unsupervised contact with the children for the duration of the holiday periods. The Judge noted otherwise that the mother's reasons for wanting to move were genuine, given that her new partner with whom she was about to have a child lived in the South Island. The Judge noted concerns with the fact that the applicant's new partner had twice contacted Oranga Tamariki about the respondent father, without consultation with the mother. Social workers noted that the mother harboured negative views about the father. If permitted to relocate it was a concern that the mother may not adhere to contact arrangements and would make it difficult for the father to see the children, thereby negatively impacting the relationship between the children and their father. The Judge concluded that the balance fell in favour of the children remaining in the North Island. The application for relocation was dismissed, and the Judge directed new contact arrangements for the children between the parties. Judgment Date: 18 September 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *