Govt action provides extra income to 39,000 sole parents

Revenue Social Development and Employment

“Around 39,000 sole parent families now have more weekly income to support their children due to the Child Support (Pass On) Acts Amendment Act,” says Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

“The new legislation passed earlier this year is helping to deliver ongoing reductions in child poverty and providing cost of living support to those families who need it most,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The first Child Support Pass On payments provide a median of $24 extra a week to around 39,000 parents on a sole parent rate of a benefit, giving them more money to support their kids. Many of these children are living under the poverty line and are amongst those feeling the worst of the cost of living crisis.

“These changes alone are estimated by officials to lift up to 14,000 children out of poverty, building on the Government’s strong record of delivering child poverty reduction and our commitment to the wellbeing of all tamariki,”

“I know New Zealanders believe that continuing to lift children out of poverty is not just the right thing to do, but a moral obligation of any good government. That is why we are focused on lifting incomes and supporting Kiwis into work, not cutting the support they will receive and imposing punitive sanctions.

As a result of changes made by this Government, 109,000 families with children are better off by an average of $190 per week, with an increase to $222 per week during the 2023 winter period, and the number of sanctions that impact New Zealand children has dropped by 87%.

“We have already lifted 77,000 children out of poverty on the after housing costs primary measure and while there is more to do, the only way we can do that is continuing to progress the policies that are achieving these positive outcomes,” Carmel Sepuloni said. 

The new Act means child support payments to sole parents that were previously kept to offset the cost of their benefit are now fully passed on to the parent. They are then assessed as income for the purpose of calculating the amount of financial assistance payable to sole parents, the same as any other beneficiary.

“An Information Sharing Agreement between relevant government departments has allowed us to implement these changes at fast pace,” Associate Revenue Minister Deborah Russell said.

“This allows the Ministry of Social Development to efficiently match payment and client details and automate payments without sole parents needing to do anything.

“With parents aware that their payments are going directly to support their tamariki, we’re confident that it will encourage more parents to pay.” Deborah Russell said.

“In making these payments a reality, we’re ensuring more of our tamariki and their sole parents are supported to get ahead. Changes of this scale are never easy but they are the right thing to do and I’m relieved for the sole parents, the child support paying parents and their children that we have been able to do this,” Carmel Sepuloni said.