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Labour must explain dodgy Aussie numbers

Labour must explain dodgy Aussie numbers

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich has released figures that make a mockery of the Government’s explanation and its excuses for failing to collect unpaid child support from liable parents in Australia.

“Either Labour has lost track of more than 6,000 liable parents, or those parents have been involved in an exodus from Australia to escape being tracked down to honour their New Zealand commitments.

“Last year the Minister said there were 12,243 New Zealand liable parents believed to be living in Australia. Now, strangely, he says there are only 5,197 owing $113 million.

“David Cunliffe should also tell us why, of the 5,197 liable parents, only 3,633 cases have been referred to Aussie collection agencies. This figure makes a mockery of his claim that after five long years Labour is getting tough on collection.

“The Government’s latest answer to this crisis is a proposal to simply write off some of the debt. Forgetting about debt is no answer to non-payment and it is certainly not a get-tough strategy.

“It might make the figures look better for Labour, but it won’t help the many thousands of disadvantaged Kiwi children who are owed more than $100 million.

“Labour is short changing far too many Kiwi kids with its ‘talk tough and do virtually nothing approach’ to those that flee the country to avoid their responsibilities,” says Mrs Rich.

Parliamentary Question: 16843 (2004)
Katherine Rich to the Associate Minister of Revenue (17 November 2004):
How many New Zealand liable parents are living in Australia and how much child support is currently owed/outstanding by ex-pat New Zealanders living in Australia?

Hon David Cunliffe (Associate Minister of Revenue) replied:
As at 20 October 2004, Inland Revenue Child Support has confirmed that there are 5,197 liable parents living in Australia with a total debt value of $112,674,110, of which $49,577,387 is assessment debt and $63,096,723 is penalty debt. Of these, 3,633 cases with a total debt value of $91,876,501 have been referred to the Australian Child Support Agency under the reciprocal agreement for collection.

Parliamentary Question: 9247 (2003)
Katherine Rich to the Associate Minister of Revenue (8 September 2003):
How many New Zealand liable parents are living in Australia?
Hon David Cunliffe (Associate Minister of Revenue) replied: Inland Revenue's records show that 12,243 New Zealand liable parents are believed to be living in Australia.

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