INDEPENDENT NEWS

Australia-New Zealand child support agreement

Published: Thu 13 Apr 2000 03:17 PM
Australia-New Zealand child support agreement signed
Decamping to Australia will no longer be an option for parents trying to avoid child support payments in New Zealand.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Revenue, John Wright, announced today the signing of the historic child support agreement between Australia and New Zealand.
The reciprocal agreement will allow Australia to enforce payments of child support from parents living in Australia who are financially liable for children in New Zealand. Likewise New Zealand will be able to extract payments from parents living here who have children in Australia.
"The foundation of our child support legislation is that parents are financially responsible for their children, regardless of whether their children live with them or not," Mr Wright said. "Changing countries does not obviate that fundamental obligation."
"We estimate that over 8,000 New Zealanders who are financially liable for children in this country are living in Australia. Of those, only about a thousand are paying child support. That leaves a lot of New Zealand child support to be collected from across the Tasman."
"The agreement will be implemented in stages to allow practical issues to be worked through by both countries, so we'll not be able to follow up all defaulting parents immediately. Once it is up and running, however, I'm confident the agreement will turn out to be very effective," Mr Wright said
The agreement comes into effect on 1 July this year.
It will also allow Australia and New Zealand to supply each other with details of liable parents' income and their addresses.
Also included within the agreement are the less common payments of spousal maintenance, which Inland Revenue collects for about 600 people in New Zealand.
ENDS
Contact: Lenore Bamfield [Senior Policy Analyst, Policy Advice Division, IRD]
Further information is available at:
New Zealand Central Authority
Inland Revenue Child Support
PO Box 9471
Hamilton, New Zealand
Phone (07) 834 7328
Fax (07) 834 7233

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