So I was interested to read yesterday on Stuff that there are 76 non-custodial parents who owe more than $300,000 - and just to clarify, that's not total debt. There are 76 parents with INDIVIDUAL debts exceeding $300,000! That is an outrage. The most delinquent debtor, who lives in Hamilton owes a staggering $1.2 MILLION!!! And there are at least ten defaulters with debts in excess of half a million bucks. Sure, much of this debt will be in non-payment penalties, not actual Child Support payments, but it suggests that the IRD is a toothless tiger when it comes to debt recovery.
National's spokesperson Judith Collins was scathing towards the government in the article:
""This is a government that is happy to nab at the border, people with outstanding parking fines and speeding tickets, but turns a blind eye to the billion-dollar-plus problem of burgeoning child support debt. That's appalling.""
Keeping Stock agrees. We`see the TV commercials aimed at small-time fines defaulters who are threatened with detainment at the border. Why will the government not get tough with Child Support avoiders? Well, here's what Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says:
"But Mr Dunne defended the department, saying though the debt was a concern, he was happy with the system. "I believe the [department] does an excellent job, given the pressure they are under, but clearly I want to see more being done.
"The responsibility of ensuring that parents meet their obligations to their children is being taken extremely seriously.""
I'm glad that Peter Dunne thinks the debt is "a concern". But I don't. I think it's an absolute outrage. At times, it has almost broken me financially to meet my obligations, but they are my children, and even though they don't live with me, they are my responsibility. When will the government take responsibility for this scandalous state of affairs, and make Child Support debt a priority? Sadly, I don't think it will be anytime soon.