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Working Hard for Families - 13 October 2006


Judith Collins Family and Welfare Spokeswoman

13 October 2006

Working Hard for Families

It sickens me that there are many New Zealand children who go to school and to bed unfed because of parents who can't be bothered to pull their weight and provide for their kids. Add to this, we have one billion dollars owed in child support debt.

The problem is escalating out of control, and the amount of debt has almost tripled in the last six years.

Why does the Government think it's acceptable to let irresponsible parents off the hook by wiping off their debts, only to leave taxpayers and responsible parents to pick up the very large pieces? Many parents only have to pay $14 per week, but the majority of them are failing to do so.

The Government needs to toughen up and actually start DOING something about collecting this money. Almost all of Kiwi parents in Australia who pay child support, are in debt, or behind on their payments. Stop them at the border! Name and shame them! Irresponsible parents send a message of no responsibility and no care to their children. Let's put our children first.

Every year babies are born with holes in their heart. These children have their own charity Heart Children New Zealand. Recently, I visited the Heart Children, met with staff and volunteers and "heartkids". Like charities for miscarriage and baby loss, Heart Children survives on the generosity of New Zealand donors. These are practical, sensible groups that make a positive difference.

Yesterday I hosted a morning tea in recognition of the International Baby Loss Awareness week. I invited MPs from other parties and as well as National MPs attending, it was good to see the Greens, United Future and New Zealand First sent representatives.

Going through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or neo-natal death is an incredibly emotional time for the mothers, fathers and other family members. Charities who work by counselling and supporting the women who have experienced losing their babies were in attendance.

It was great for organisations such as Miscarriage Support and Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support to meet up with politicians and raise awareness as to how common baby deaths are becoming. This area is always going to be sensitive, but we do need to support our families through these times.

ENDS


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