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David Cunliffe must explain himself on figures

Judith Collins MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

06 April 2005

David Cunliffe must explain himself on figures

"Associate Revenue Minister David Cunliffe should be ashamed of himself for the way in which he appears to have attempted to hide the real number of liable parents living in Australia," says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins.

"In typical Labour style, he has now launched a personal attack after getting caught out.

"Yet again, he has attacked the messenger by misrepresenting my comments, but tellingly he has refused to explain why identical questions in successive years were treated so differently.

"His spin has unravelled, he's been busted and he knows it," says Ms Collins.

She is referring to answers to written Parliamentary questions during 2003 and 2004.

"In 2003 Labour told us there were more than 12,000 liable parents living in Australia. In 2004, when National asked exactly the same question, he tried to tell us there were around 5,000 liable parents in Australia.

"I doubt Mr Cunliffe would have ever come clean unless National had pushed the issue.

"Only after he was caught out did Mr Cunliffe reveal more than 11,000 liable parents are believed to be living in Australia.

"The public deserve better. Mr Cunliffe should hang his head in shame," says Ms Collins. Ends

Attached: Parliamentary Questions - 1 page.

Parliamentary Questions:
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.

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.

Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 11:13:55 AM
To: Judith Collins
Subject: 03537 (2005) Published - Revenue (Associate Minister) - Normal Reply

Question: Further to his response to written questions 9247 (2003) and 16843 (2004), what reasons are attributed to the drop in number of New Zealand liable parents living in Australia, from 12,243 in September 2003 to 5,197 in October 2004?

Portfolio: Revenue (Associate Minister)
Minister: Hon David Cunliffe
Date Lodged:15/03/2005

Answer Text: Inland Revenue Child Support maintains two sets of information regarding the number of liable parents living in Australia:
1. Those who are confirmed as living in Australia; and
2. Those who are believed to be living in Australia, which includes those:
- whose last known address was in Australia; or
- who, based on the advice of another person, may be living in Australia.
In response to Written Question 9247 (2003), it was stated that 12, 243 New Zealand liable parents were believed to be living in Australia. This figure included 5,129 liable parets who had been confirmed as living in Australia.
In response to Written Question 16843 (2004), it was stated that 5, 197 liable parents were living in Australia. In October 2004 11,366 liable parents were believed to be living in Australia, which included the confirmed figure of 5,197.
These numbers change over time because:
1. some liable parents believed to be living in Australia:
- have returned to New Zealand; or
- are confirmed to be living elsewere overseas;
2. some liable parents cease to be liable for the payment of child support;
3. of new child support cases.

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