Monday, 13 September 2010

child support review

a couple of weeks ago, peter dunne announced a review into the child support scheme:

"The reality is that family life in New Zealand has changed considerably in the 18 years since the current scheme was introduced," Mr Dunne said in releasing the Supporting Children discussion document.

"Families have evolved and their domestic and financial situations have changed, and are often more complex today than they were in the past.

"Today both parents are far more likely to be working than was the case in 1992, and often separated fathers have a far greater involvement with their children than they used to have," he said.

However, Mr Dunne said his first message to New Zealanders was simple: "While we need a scheme that serves children better and is fair to parents, we do not want people in this system if it can be avoided.

"It is better if parents can come to their own arrangements for the benefit of their children when their relationship breaks down. Child support is a backstop when you cannot do that.

Currently, the scheme arranges financial support for the care of 210,000 children.

there seems to be quite a bit of support for the review, from a range of organisations including men's rights groups, family first & every child counts. i don't have much experience (well none at all really) with the child support system, but have heard of inequities with the way it works.

there was some discussion about this on radio nz, nine to noon (thursday 2 sept, 9.08am). while they did have one woman discussing her personal situation, i'm concerned that there won't be enough women's voices being heard on this issue. and given this governments very poor record when it comes to women (or hostility to women, according to gordon campbell), chances are that the outcome will not be good for many women and therefore their children.

anyway, the discussion document is here, and online submissions can be found here. if you have a moment, i'd recommend putting in a submission.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have put in a submission. I think that more flexibility over making payments fair for each individual situation is a good idea.
Something that wasn't in the discussion document, but which I put in my submission is student allowances. Under the current arrangements, when my daughter attends university in 8 years time she will not qualify for a student allowance due to her father's high income. I know, however, that he will do nothing to assist her financially once the law no longer forces him to. I think that if he is not required to assist her, then his income should not be included when assessing her eligibility for a student allowance. In this situation, in seems that the mother who often has a lower income continues to provides a home for her children to help them, and the father with the higher income doesn't. I think this issue is not strictly child support, but rather student allowances, but I included it in my submission anyway.
I also want to say that I know there will be families where the father does help his children while they are at university, so I know my situation will not apply to everybody. It's just how the student allowance rules will affect my daughter.