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Unnamed Fathers Must Be Priority For Government

Monday 13th Mar 2000
Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Other

Addressing the huge and growing number of fathers who are unnamed on DPB applications and therefore give nothing towards the raising of their children must be a priority for Social Services Minister Steve Maharey, according to ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

“As a first step to addressing this problem I expect Mr Maharey to urgently ask for a detailed analysis of these figures and to make that analysis public. The Minister should instruct his officials to begin that analysis today. They should not be waiting another month as Mr Maharey is proposing,” said Muriel Newman.

Dr Newman yesterday released Government figures showing that the number of unnamed fathers have increased 60% from around 8,700 at the beginning of 1994 to 14,000 today.

“That the number of unnamed fathers could go up by 60% without alarm bells ringing in WINZ or its predecessor, Income Support is hard to comprehend. Even more worrying is the total lack of understanding or analysis of why so many fathers are now avoiding contributions to their children’s upbringing. In the Minister’s own words “no-one knows why.

“Steve Maharey has been trying to make all the right noises on this issue since the size of this problem was made public. However although he said that this trend was a concern to him in Opposition he has waited until the issue has been forced upon him even to acknowledge it.

“Making sure that men who father children take responsibility for those children and make their contribution is an issue of fairness and must be a key priority for Mr Maharey and his Government,” said Muriel Newman.

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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