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Labour's shame on child support collection

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

09 October 2006

Labour's shame on child support collection

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins is urging Labour to confirm that it is looking at a National Party policy that would see child support defaulters stopped at the border.

"National has had this policy for some time. Now that the Government has adopted a plan to stop fines defaulters at the airport, it follows logically that Labour must do the same for parents who fail to live up to their responsibilities."

Ms Collins notes that the total amount owed by liable parents has jumped dramatically to $1.1 billion. Liable parents living in Australia now owe a staggering $282 million compared with $73 million in 2003.

"Absent parents will never understand how serious their responsibilities are until we start holding them to account for their actions. A parent who refuses to pay child support clearly does not consider the impact of this non-payment on their kids or their former partners - both in an emotional sense and a financial sense."

Answers provided by the Revenue Minister to parliamentary questions show that of the 65,319 liable parents assessed to pay $14 per week towards the upkeep of their children, 44,339 are not even managing to sustain this and are in debt to IRD.

Ms Collins says she is moved by stories like that told by Debbie Warnock in a letter to today's Dominion Post Newspaper.

"She tells us that she is a solo mum of a soon-to-be four-year-old and hasn't received child support since October 2005. This is the legacy of Labour's softly-softly approach which lets parents who leave New Zealand off the hook.

"Now that Labour has finally taken action against fines defaulters in a bid to protect taxpayers and victims, it's time for David Benson-Pope to stand up for the child victims of delinquent parents," says Ms Collins.


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