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Govt turns its back on children

Govt turns its back on children

"The Government is allowing parents who should be paying maintenance for their children off the hook, and the taxpayer's picking up the tab, says newly appointed National Family Spokesperson Judith Collins.

"Parents have responsibilities and their main one is to be there for their children, both financially and emotionally, even if the family unit breaks down.

"Parents must have the primary and overriding responsibility for their children. The Government should be providing a backstop to help children and responsible parents when the family unit fails. Instead it is providing a convenient excuse for a parent who decides they don't want to support their family financially any more.

"The problem is that the domestic purposes benefit has evolved from a hand up to those in need, to an avoidance mechanism for parents who don't want to make sacrifices for their children. This has created a culture of irresponsibility with children and responsible parents being the losers.

"Irresponsible parents are getting away with it because the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), which should be collecting the liable parent contribution, isn't doing its job.

"It means we've got a large number of $10 dads, and in some cases mums, who can afford much more than the minimum child support payment of $10 a week. Many are avoiding paying more by hiding their incomes through being self-employed.

"It's even worse when the custodial parent is not receiving the benefit and working to support their children. In those cases the liable parent contribution goes to the custodial parent and, as any parent can tell us, $10 a week goes nowhere when feeding a child.

"The result is that the whole concept of parental responsibility is being broken down. National believes the family unit is the core to society. We will put measures in place so that those entitled to the liable parent contribution get it. The IRD has got to step up and do its job," Ms Collins said.

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