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14,000 Fathers Walking Away From Their Children

Sunday 12th Mar 2000
Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Concern is being raised at the increasing number of fathers who are making no financial contribution towards the raising of their children.

The naming of a father is required as part of an application for the Domestic Purposes Benefit, to ensure that fathers face some responsibility for the financial support of their child. However, ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today released Government figures showing that the numbers of unnamed fathers have increased 60% from around 8,700 at the beginning of 1994, to 14,000 today.

“It’s understandable that a small number of women may be unable to name the father of their child. But, it is difficult to understand how over 14,000 fathers cannot be named to take their share of the financial responsibility for their children,” said Muriel Newman.

Overall, the State pays over $1.5 billion each year to support Sole Parents and their children, but receives less than 10% back in child-support from non- custodial parents. Women who will not, or can not name the father of their child, are placed on a slightly lower Domestic Purposes Benefit, receiving around $22.00 a week less than the standard rate.

Dr Newman said it’s a real concern that the numbers of women with a section 70a deduction for not naming the father have been increasing by nearly a thousand a year for the last six years.

“It is totally unacceptable that the Minister of Social Services ignores these figures. He must urgently state publicly what he plans to do to ensure these fathers meet their responsibilities,” Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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