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Wed 8th June 2005

Compo wanted after 21-year fight with bureaucracy

Filed under: Child Support — JohnPotter @ 9:39 am

A Christchurch man who has won a 21-year battle against bureaucracy will continue to seek compensation after being forced to support another man’s child since 1984.

The Ministry of Social Development has agreed to pay Gordon Dowler $10,000 after a battle that has dragged on since 1984, first with Social Welfare and then with Inland Revenue after the IRD took over collecting payments.

Dowler, a specialist welder, is now applying for expenses and interest which may exceed the amount he paid from 1982 to 2003.

Dowler said he had been “harassed” by the child support officials every month since 1984, over money he knew he should not be paying.

The 51-year-old said he was not able to prove his case with a DNA test until 2003, when he contacted the now grown-up child and arranged the test which proved he was not the biological father. The mother had previously blocked his attempts to get a test, he said.

The Inland Revenue Department promptly paid him the $8000 he was owed after the DNA test showed he was not the father.

The Ministry of Social Development was more reluctant, holding out until yesterday, when it agreed to pay Dowler the $10,000 he had paid for child support before 2003.

Dowler’s story began in 1981, when the mother of the child called him while he was overseas to tell him she was pregnant with his baby.

Dowler returned to New Zealand and bought a house for his new family. Three months after the birth, however, he found out the baby was not his after speaking with an ex-boyfriend of the mother.

Despite knowing he was not the father, Dowler helped look after the baby for the next 18 months, saying little about its parentage because he felt embarrassed, he said.

He found it difficult to part with the baby when the couple separated in 1983.

“I remember taking the little (baby) in my arms and walking around the block and I explained to her Mummy was going to take her away,” he said.

“It ripped my heart out.”

He started paying child support, but soon after began to contest the payments, which were about 20 per cent of his income.

“It has definitely influenced the course of my life because I have had no money to do anything. Every month I have been harassed. You get the letter and you don’t eat for two days…it really knocks you,” he said.

“You have this hopeless feeling that you’ve got no rights.”

More on this story:

TVNZ Streaming video: Social Welfare Refund

3 Responses to “Compo wanted after 21-year fight with bureaucracy”

  1. Peter Burns says:

    Dear group – 21 years to get justice from a misandrist & hateful system. I have only been battling for access to my daughters for 4 years so I got a long time to go eh???? Stuff the corrupt – dysfunctional system.

  2. Moose157 says:

    I have no children of my own, but after reading these articles, especially this article, I have put the idea of having children off indefinately. This angers me, because I should not have to worry that if I split with my partner, that I will immediatley be screwed over, in short. I was unaware that things were this bad. How did I not know? well (referring to another post) Our current PM is a hardcore feminist. And I guess the Govt. controls the media, which I guess is why there is such a biased view against men on the news all the time. Have you noticed that when there is a female criminal on the news, immediately after there is usually something about a really bad male criminal, just to contrast it and say ‘But males are worse’ How the hell did everything get so biased? What the heck have we all been doing? Standing back and watching everything shift out of balance? I’m sorry if I offend anyone by that. I had a friend a while ago who split with his girlfriend, she was angry about it, so she called rape on him (which he didn’t do) – He went to court, and eventually was aquitted. But of course, his name was mud by then, so he was fired, couldn’t find work etc. I was angered by the fact that the law is so biased then (& more so now) as to make it so easy for women to make us men to be made the criminal, at any females whim. But even after reading a just a few articles on this website I am totally horrified. I am new to this site (as you can probably guess) so I apologise for any ignorance. I can only feel sorrow for you guys who love your kids, but can’t see them, or if you can, only limited time and are labelled as ‘the bad guy’

  3. chump says:

    What was the outcome of Gordons claim for costs or use of money interest.

    Im heading down this path myself and was horrified that any refund is not eligible for use of money interest to be added as would be fair.

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