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Judith Collins plans a fight for our kids

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

01 February 2005

Judith Collins plans a fight for our kids

Newly appointed National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says she plans to stand up for the nation's children because "Labour is increasingly failing our most vulnerable kids".

"National Leader Don Brash has pledged to break the cycle of welfare dependency which is so damaging to so many hundreds of thousands of youngsters.

"I look forward to helping the next National Government realise that goal."

Ms Collins says among other things, she is determined to make sure non-custodial parents pay their way.

"There has been an explosion in unpaid child support and Labour says part of the answer is to write off the bad debts and penalties. It might make the statistics look better, but it is no message to be sending to the many thousands of people, mostly fathers, who aren't living up to their responsibilities."

Child support debt has more than doubled under Labour from $361 million, to $873 million.

"It isn't fair on those who care for the children, it's not fair on the children and it's not fair on the battling Kiwi taxpayer who picks up the tab.

"And if the state is paying for you to be a parent, I believe you should be a responsible parent. I have been a strong advocate within Caucus for reciprocal obligations, such as school attendance as well as dental and doctor checks.

"The overwhelming majority of parents on benefits do an amazing job, but National is determined to send a strong message to that small minority who are making welfare dependency a lifestyle choice.

"I look forward to implementing the policies outlined in last week's Orewa speech. Welfare dependency is going to be a key issue this election and National is determined to break the cycle," says Ms Collins.

Ends

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