A FATHER locked in a bitter custody battle says he will have his case published in a publicly distributed pamphlet, inviting readers to vote on whether he should commit suicide.
Men's rights campaigner Jim Bagnall says his group, Coalition of Fathers, supports the dad and the pamphlet-drop will help raise awareness of their cause.
"I will be distributing pamphlets with a summary of his story and his phone number, and then he can evaluate how many messages he gets either yes or no whether he should commit suicide or not," Bagnall told Sunday News.
But the move has been slammed by Mensline and Suicide Prevention New Zealand, and is potentially a breach of the Crimes Act.
The man, in his 40s, said he had been driven to despair through his unsuccessful attempts in the Family Court to gain access to his daughters.
"I've been to court 12 times. There's no hope for people like me, I don't fit in any more," said the man, who cannot legally be named. "You take someone's children away and you take away their hopes for living."
The man, an immigrant, said he moved to New Zealand with his then-partner to start a new, safe life.
But the relationship dissolved and his ex got custody of the girls. He said his access had been further limited because of allegations his former partner made against him.
"I've told my family back home that I've had enough," he told Sunday News. "I've had two breakdowns and I am at the point now where I don't care, because they'll either kill me or I'll do something."
Bagnall claims the man's case isn't unique. He says separated fathers routinely have access limited to children the moment their ex makes an allegation against them.
"(The man) can only see his children under supervised access," Bagnall said. "(His suicide vote) is drastic but what other options has he now got left?"
But Mensline's Denis Bunbury says the planned move is dangerous. "I think he may feel his circumstances are very extreme, and one can understand why he feels that way," Bunbury said. "But it is not constructive."
Suicide Prevention New Zealand director Merryn Statham said: "To use somebody taking their life as an opportunity to draw attention to your cause in this country is unethical. If that man loses his life, his children are the ones that suffer the most. He's experiencing extreme distress. The group (Coalition of Fathers) should recognise the extreme risk the member is experiencing at the moment. There is help available."
Under the Crimes Act it is a crime to "incite, counsel, or procure any person to commit suicide. But Bagnall says: "I wouldn't call it promoting suicide, I would call it advising what is going on in the courts."He says his group predicts people will vote "No" and advise the man to keep fighting to get back his children.