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Labour's Fatherless Generation

Labour's Fatherless Generation

Thursday 22 Jul 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded that the Government front up and admit that it is incapable of making decisions at the hard end of welfare, after new information showed that more children than ever before are growing up fatherless and dependent on benefits.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of the end of April 2004, as many as 34,685 Kiwi kids had no idea who their father was - an increase of more than 2,000 in only a year," Dr Newman said.

"These are the children of 18,161 sole mothers - 530 more than 2003, and 4,384 more than when Labour took office - who have a 70A deduction on their DPB because they refuse to name the father of their child.

"But, in reality, they are the children of the hard-working taxpayers who - already struggling to make ends meet and support their own families - are forced to support them. And, as well as burdening working Kiwis with financial responsibility for over 34,000 children, Labour's soft-on-welfare approach is allowing thousands of fathers to shirk their paternal duty.

"The 70A deduction is supposed to stop sole mothers withholding the name of their child's father - except in extreme circumstances. But this is not the case - why should it be, when all this Government has ever done is increase the penalty to match the rate of inflation?

"Labour inherited a welfare system where - due to initiatives like work-testing - DPB numbers had dropped. Now they have risen again - begging the question of whether this Government is incapable of helping New Zealand children escape welfare and know their father, or simply does not care," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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