Dunne: strong public support for child support changes
Seven in ten people responding to the Government’s consultation on the child support scheme want comprehensive changes to the system, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today in releasing a summary of more than 2000 public submissions.
“The submissions generally reflect the strongly held views in the community that the scheme can be fairer to all parties and of more direct benefit to the children it is set up to support,” Mr Dunne said.
“I intend to deliver on that,” he said.
The options in the Supporting children consultation, conducted late last year, included looking at the child support formula (what a paying parent must contribute); including revised estimates on the cost of raising children; the number of nights used to determine a shared-care arrangement and counting both parents’ income when setting support levels.
Options to change the rules for how child support payments could be made and for late payment penalties were also presented, with a view to increasing payments made on time.
"My aim in instigating this review process was to make the scheme fairer and to take into account changes in society since it was introduced in 1992," Mr Dunne said.
According to feedback :
- 69 percent or submitters wanted a comprehensive revision of the child support formula to take into account all the main options for change;
- 69 percent felt that the current threshold for taking into account the sharing of care of a child between parents should be lowered from the current 40 percent of nights a year
- 68 percent believed the income of both parents should be taken into account when working out child support, with many noting the financial responsibility that both parents have towards their children
- 66 percent wanted child support payments deducted from the paying parent’s pay-packet; and
- 65 percent thought the child support penalty rates for parents who default on their payments should be reduced after one year’s default to allow other enforcement measures to be used.
“There are more than 200,000 New Zealand children directly reliant on the child support scheme to meet their needs. It is crucial that they receive the financial support they need and are due,” Mr Dunne said.
“Part of making that happen is also giving parents a sense of fairness about the whole process. They should feel – even if they do not like certain aspects – that the scheme is fair and is there for the benefit of their children.
“When parents feel that it is fairer, then we can expect higher levels of compliance, but the bottom line is that every parent has a duty to support their children.
The summary of submissions can be viewed on Inland Revenue’s tax policy website, www.taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz
Mr Dunne said the next step is that he will present options to reform the child support scheme to Cabinet next month, and depending on Cabinet’s decision, he would expect to introduce a bill to Parliament containing the necessary changes later this year.
Mark Stewart | Press Secretary | Office of Hon Peter Dunne
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