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Govt lets welfare millions go uncollected

Govt lets welfare millions go uncollected

"The Government is allowing more than $73 million in unpaid child support payments go uncollected in Australia and it's time to act," says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

She's released figures after Parliamentary Questions, which show 12,243 Kiwi parents living in Australia owe $73,207,549 in unpaid child support.

"The Government is simply not trying hard enough to collect the debts, despite signing a much-lauded reciprocal child support collection agreement with Australia in 2000.

"The Government has collected less than $2 million in the past three years," Mrs Rich says.

"The amount owed by these responsibility dodgers has also doubled in the past three years. The Government is letting them take the New Zealand taxpayer for a ride," she says.

Of the 12,243 parents who owe money, the New Zealand Government's referred only 1200 cases to Australian officials for debt collection.

"Unless there are really good reasons, non-custodial parents should not be allowed to leave New Zealand owing money.

"They have responsibilities, first and foremost to their children, but also to their former partner and the New Zealand taxpayer.

"$73 million buys a lot of school uniforms, books and pays for a lot of sports subs

"The Government's tip-toed around this issue for too long. It's time to get tough rather than just talking about it," Mrs Rich says.

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