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News Worthy: National policy releases continue

12 September 2008 - No. 262

National policy releases continue

National has now released substantial policy which is at The policy releases include:

• Education Standards

• Immigration

• Housing

• Environment and Conservation

• Arts and culture

Read to your kids

I had the privilege of being involved in the launch of the above programme. The aim of the programme is to:

• encourage and support parents who read to their kids.

• raise awareness of the value of reading aloud to children.

• help NZ children become better readers.

• improve adult awareness of their responsibility as literacy role models.

• support New Zealanders to improve the quality of family life.

The link is

Moratorium or mortuary?

There was an excellent article on 28 August 2008 in the Independent Business Review on the decision by a number of finance companies to impose a moratorium on investors’ funds.

Nearly $3.7 billion has been put at risk by finance company failures since mid-2006.

These moratoria are completely unsatisfactory from the perspective of investors. There are a number of reasons for that:

• The directors who were running the business when it got into difficulty are left in charge under the moratorium.

• Those same directors will be reluctant to admit they have made mistakes and they will not want to admit that lending money to a particular person or company was incautious.

• There always has to be uncertainty over whose best interests the directors are acting in. Their commitment to recover investors money may not necessarily be the first priority.

With receivership there is no ambiguity. As the writer of the article said:

“Remove the people who have caused these companies to fail. Get the receivers in and let’s start clearing this mess up”.

Child support obligations

The statistics on the failure of the Government to enforce child support obligations are startling and reflect no credit on the Government. They include:

• Total child support debt has increased from $361 million in 1999 to $1,272,559 billion as at the end of March 2008.

• The core debt has more than doubled from $200 million in 1999 to $486 million as at the end of March 2008.

• The number of IRD staff dealing with child support has increased from 98 in 2004 to 214 in 2008 yet the amount of child support continues to balloon.

• 118,127 parents have a child support debt.

• One third of the total debt is owed by almost 13,000 parents who have left New Zealand and about 8,000 of them are in Australia.

• 49,686 parents are only required to pay the minimum payment of $14 per week and 27% (13,764 parents) are failing to even pay that.

Of course there are other issues with the child support system, including the penalties regime. Many of the debts have become impossibly large. For example, the top 100 child support debtors include almost 40 debtors who owe less than $20,000 in assessment debt but owe between $300-500,000 in penalties to the State. These debts have become an impossible burden for the liable parent.

That said it is wholly unsatisfactory that parents are not meeting their financial obligations to their children.

Political Quote of the Week

“Not what happens to you, but how you accept it is of paramount importance” – Sri Chinmoy - Indian philosopher and guru (1931-2007)

Dr Richard Worth

National Party MP


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