INDEPENDENT NEWS

Child support debt needed tackling before now

Published: Thu 26 Apr 2007 09:05 AM
Child support debt needed tackling before now
National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says figures showing an appalling rate of collection for outstanding child support debt should have been ringing alarm bells long before now.
“Failing to pay child support is tantamount to child neglect in my opinion.”
Kiwi parents owe more than $1.1 billion in unpaid child support, and figures compiled using answers to written questions (below) show this is a problem that Labour has not come to grips with.
In 2001/2002 when child support debt was about $560 million, $31.7 million was recouped on behalf of the taxpayer.
In 2005/2006 when total child support passed the $1.1 billion mark, only $67 million was collected.
“Any business that worked on that basis would be bankrupt in no time flat.”
“I must say, I was totally gobsmacked by the appallingly low collection rate. It’s as if Labour is not even trying to do better.”
Ms Collins is calling on Labour to start getting serious about collecting overdue and unpaid child support.
“The current Government’s answer to this crisis was to implement a policy that excused penalties for those who agree to make regular payments.
“But as the attached figures show, efforts could and should have been made long ago.”
Ends
2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06
Assessment Debt for year ending 30 June
$260,283,799
$312,017,217
$355,262,113
$416,056,521
$452,056,521
Penalty Debt $301,981,345 $388,213,737 $463,247,330 $557,696,999 $651,519,334
Total child support debt $562,265,144 $700,230,954 $818,509,443 $973,753,520 $1,103,532,294
Child support collected ($m) $31.7 $38.7 $41.1 $57.0 $67.6

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