Dunne unveils key Child Support review submission themes

  • Peter Dunne

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne expects to release a summary of the main themes of public submissions on the Child Support review next month, he announced today.

The consultation period on the Supporting Children discussion document ran through September and October last year and drew nearly 2300 submissions.

“As expected with an issue that affects so many New Zealanders, there was a huge range of strongly held views, which is excellent in the context of the comprehensive review that we are undertaking,” Mr Dunne said.

He said that key submission themes included:

• arguments for both the inadequacy or excessiveness of child support payments and how they are calculated

• issues around recognising shared care

• whether child support payments should apply if there is an equal care arrangement

• the impact that a child support formula based on the income of both parents would have on the incentive for parents to work or increase their earnings

• the impact on the family income when a parent has re-partnered and the extent to which the cost of supporting children in the second relationship are taken into account

• dissatisfaction with current child support penalty rules.

Mr Dunne said these and other issues drew strong views and both the level and tenor of responses only confirmed his view that the current child support regime "is outdated and sometimes unfair".

“We will absolutely make it better and fairer. Obviously, in such a contentious and, at times, emotionally charged arena, you cannot please all the people all the time.

“However I have no doubt we are going to improve the lot of the 210,000 New Zealand children who need and deserve support, and parents will generally feel that they are operating in a better, fairer system focused on the well-being of their children,” he said.