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Why child support is failing.

Filed under: Child Support,General,Men's Health — Downunder @ 3:02 pm Thu 8th September 2005

Why Child Support isn’t working.

Child Support might better be referred to as issue tax. It is nothing more than a crippling poll tax most often levied on the biological father, accompanied by a sinister mythology in the way it is portrayed.

Firstly – By the name itself. It literally has nothing to do with supporting a child, and any society that allows a child’s requirements to be reduced to a financial formula can expect the relevant consequences. Of all the requirements in a child’s upbringing money is the least important. Money is nothing more than a means of representing stored effort and a means of facilitating exchange. Used in any other way it becomes a weapon.

Secondly – In the case of the father, maintaining a simplistic explanation of his existence with the protect and provide scenario. In a “secure society” or perceived secure society, the protection issue is dismissed, as a male responsibility, and institutionalized into police and defense. The provide issue is limited to a cash earnings provision regardless of the level of the fathers presence. (I deliberately avoided the word absent)

The use of the word absence — is very significant.

It carries with it justification for the way in which we classify a father and pursue him according to a financial formula. If his only use was to provide, whether it is from within a relationship with the mother or outside of a relationship with the mother, then we can say – well he was going to pay anyway, so let’s just take the money.

With absence comes a long list of disadvantages to the child, teenage pregnancy, lack of confidence, psychological disorder, etc. It is a great blame and shame campaign. What we haven’t done is portray the significance of the father’s presence. This is important in creating a level playing field within a relationship so the father’s position is not less than equal. The father’s presence is not only to provide, it contains many unstated attributes. For example the father is more likely to teach a child, male or female, risk taking, which is in contrast to the mother’s inclination to limit risk, or isolate the child from danger.

As a result of the fractured society that has developed over the last 30 years. We tend to view separation and divorce as a definite and final situation from the adult perspective and that has stopped us viewing the parent child relationship on a sliding scale. Because we haven’t appreciated the significance of the father’s presence we have created a one fits all law for child support, and other family matters. In many cases we have placed unrealistic expectations on fathers and children expecting them to comply with least complicated option or most convenient option for the weakest parent.

One of the most under estimated situations is parental alienation. What is clearly not visible here to many people is the position a father finds himself in when his presence distresses a child through no fault of his own. He is forced to ask the question is my child better off not seeing me. Many deadbeat dads are as much a victim as the child or children they have left behind. Our society has failed miserably in appreciating and protecting the father’s position on behalf on the child.

It is both an attitude change and a law change that is required urgently. Child Support is part of the matrix of family law that is breaking down our society. It creates negative outcomes for children in education, health, relationships, employment, and psychological development. The current relentless pursuit of fathers by the IRD is resulting in an unnecessary and unacceptable number of deaths.

Bevan Berg
NZ Republicans Candidate


  1. I would like to add my own comments regarding this matter, I whole heartedly agree with the post, I am in a situation where my ex girlfriend applied for child support through IRD last year and as I earn so much my monthly child support is high, I hardly get to see my children as we both live in different towns,if i want to see them I have to make the effort, I don’t recall her once bringing them over so it is apparent that in many cases this child support for the mother is just a revenue gathering exercise, and to make it worse there is no means testing for the mother as i have been told by IRD so she can do just about what she likes with the monies and there is no gaurantee that the children are benfitting from it in the slightest, I applied for a admin reveue last year but it was deemed about right so am now applying for another one as we are not living the life my wife and I work so hard to achieve.
    I have emailed the parliamentarians to let them know our plight but so far no clear responses.

    Comment by Neil — Thu 8th September 2005 @ 4:23 pm

  2. And all this is nothing new. This news item would carry a lot more weight if its author actually did something positive about changing the Child Support situation in New Zealand instead of just talking about it.

    There are, however, some groups out there like Parents for Children who are actually making things happen.

    Comment by Sparx — Thu 8th September 2005 @ 6:00 pm

  3. But the item is among the very best I have read to date and summarises to perfection the situation most of us are in, myself included.

    it just continues to amaze me that the so called parliamentarians continue to ignore what is so painfully obvious and so clearly a travesty to men and children in particular. What idiots. It shows that people in power care nothing for kids.

    Comment by Morris Lindsay — Thu 8th September 2005 @ 9:31 pm

  4. PS…I would like to print some these articles for my wife and our solicitors and the Family Court to read. Is this permissable and possible?

    Also for my workmates who have long since just accepted the leglislation and now maybe have the support to stand up and fight.

    Comment by Morris Lindsay — Thu 8th September 2005 @ 9:34 pm

  5. And yes, i support Parents for Children, and yes, one day we will win.

    Comment by Morris Lindsay — Thu 8th September 2005 @ 9:36 pm

  6. It amazes me that with all the ongoing angst from alienated NZ fathers that NZ is unlike UK, USA, Canada, Holland and Germany in setting up a Fathers For Justice chapter.
    I reckon until NZ men wake up to the need to use non-violent civil disobedience like Fathers For Justice members the powers that be will just continue to shit on fathers with impunity, and the public at large will continue to look the other way.

    After all there’s an old counselling maxim :
    If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten – in this case misandry and fatherlessness.

    Stephen Gee – Father of Campbell, Son of Brian, Grandson od Stanley and Lesley, Great Grandson of William and Henry.

    Comment by Stephen — Fri 9th September 2005 @ 1:08 am

  7. I felt the second comment was unfair and unjustified, and I have responded in the subsequent posting “Am I helping”

    NZ Republicans Candidate

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Fri 9th September 2005 @ 10:34 am

  8. I am an Australian. I had a kiwi de-facto 1994-1998. In 1999 (six months after relationship ended) she left the country in the middle of the night with my 2 girls (then 1 and 3yo). I used the hague act to bring them back to australian court. A consensual agreement was reached and ordered that the children be allowed to relocate to NZ, She would pay for airfares + $160 accomodation twice per year AND that I pay $25 per week child support. My ex had me assessed by the IRD in May 2002. I sent them my order but they refused it. They have put me on default assessment of $600 a month. I have largely been on employment benefits for the last years. They now want $27000 and rising.

    My ex has only in the last few days taken out an action to remove the obligation for fares and also to remove the child support clause … I dont understand that bit … I am not a lawyer. I cannot defend the action … have no access to law in NZ, and have no money.

    One thing is – that my Australian order was registered there as part of her action. I am going to claim it as a valid departure order in an objection. But I cannot deal with NZ … telephone costs during the daytime are $2 a minute.

    I need help.

    Comment by David Picknell — Sat 10th September 2005 @ 12:22 am

  9. Can you re open the Australian Court Case. The best place to find a resolution would be back where the problem started.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Sat 10th September 2005 @ 12:52 pm

  10. My ex is on a benefit of some sort in NZ and is studying to become a nurse. My kids are happy. She is an excellent mother. I cannot reopen the Australian court case because I have no wish to upset their lives. I have since last night talked to my ex on the phone and agreed to consent to her request about the obligation to pay fares and remove the child support clause. Hopefully this will end our “court journey”.

    I will be visiting NZ 30th Sept to 4th Oct. There is no issue with my access to the children if I visit.

    My main issue remains with IRD who refuse to accept my Australian court order – made permanent Sept 2000 – after the bilateral agreement with Australia. I would argue (if I had a lawyer) that this was a duly competent court to issue such an order.

    Now that the order is registered there I will object to their original assessment (again). Its all I can do.

    Comment by David Picknell — Sat 10th September 2005 @ 2:02 pm

  11. The solution to this whole mess is simple. A Child Support system built on presumptive shared parenting. Two parents, equal care and equal responsibility.Any attempt to change the current regieme will fail unless this principle is applied.

    Understand that the current percentage obligator model of CS NZ uses was only ever designed for application to benificaries for collection of CS where both parties are benificaries. Its the creation of a tossser academic and has no basis in reality.It was never intended that this model should be applied to wage and salary earners.

    The only way to change CS (the wedge that will reform all of family law) is by getting representatives in Parliament who will fight to effect change.

    I dont agree with all that Bevan has written, but at least he has gotten off his butt and taken a stand!


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Mon 12th September 2005 @ 3:28 pm

  12. David,

    You state
    I will be visiting NZ 30th Sept to 4th Oct. …..They now want $27000 and rising…

    Be warned that IRD now have a matching system with the Customs Computer and they are not above arresting you at the border for “unpaid” CS


    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Mon 12th September 2005 @ 3:35 pm

  13. David,

    I must concur with Scrap_The_CSA, you need to be very careful re-entering NZ without clearing this up.

    The current understanding we have is that an alleged debt of $2000 can warrant arrest at the border and incarceration until such stage as the [alleged] debt is repaid.

    The New amendment bill introduced by our Family-Friend Cunliffe [immediately before parliament rose] will only make CS in New Zealand much harsher than it is presently. Certainly, it will increase the powers of the CS Agency especially in the areas of proof of debt and application of “the full force of the law”.

    If there is a way we may assist, please visit Parents for Children and ask some questions in the forums. If you are uncomfortable doing this, then send me an email at [email protected],


    Mark Shipman
    National President
    Parents for Children

    Comment by MarkS — Mon 12th September 2005 @ 6:27 pm

  14. Thanks for your advice guys. I have asked IRD whether there was a problem with this visit on the free line from here – they said that there was currently no issue – but I dont trust them and will ring them tomorrow and ask that this be entered into my case file on the computer.

    I am in contact with the case officer of the family court in NZ where the ex took out this action. I have indicated it is consensual and outlined in some detail my child support issues and what help I could get and the fact I have no access to the NZ legal system.

    I will take all relevant papers and seek a lawyer on the first day. (my mum is a gem – got “mastercard” now on her account) and a small budget.

    Its all I can do. I must see my children or really – why do I exist?

    Its all I can do. I need to see

    Comment by David Picknell — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 12:46 am

  15. also – I have never been to NZ before. The ex lived here for 3 yrs before our relationship and both my children were born here.

    Comment by David Picknell — Tue 13th September 2005 @ 12:50 am

  16. David,

    If you need assistance when you get here, send me an email to [email protected].


    Mark Shipman

    Comment by MarkS — Wed 14th September 2005 @ 5:58 pm

  17. This is not really a comment to the article above, but in response to David’s problems with IRD from Australia. Your situation is a bad one but not insurmountable. Six months ago I was in an almost identical situation. I ‘owed’ IRD just under $30,000 and this was climbing rapidly (BTW does Katherine Rich and Co know what happens to $300m if you keep adding 2% to it every month for 6 years?). Now, after many painful hours of letter writing, negotiation and an Admin review, I’m almost square (without having actually paid their ridiculous assessment amounts). So, three pieces of advice:
    1. don’t get a lawyer (it’ll cost more than the debt!)
    2. there is a free number you can call from Australia (if you don’t have it, I can find it for you)
    3. write letters, create a paper trail, because the people you talk to on the phones are often not nice and/or a bit thick and always pretty well completely unaccountable.
    4. If you’re going to ring them, note who you talked, when, and what was said (see above point)
    5. Apply for an Admin review (you will be able to use all the letters and notes then)

    Feel free to get in touch if you want any help. [email protected]



    Comment by Iain Sutherland — Thu 29th September 2005 @ 5:21 pm

  18. Hi guys,
    Thanks for all the advice. I have just returned from my visit with the children and it was marvellous!

    I hired a lawyer who immediately got me reassessed at minimum assessment with no penalties backdated to 2002. I am waiting for Child Support Australia to reflect the changes but beaurocracy is slow.

    The lawyer cost $500 and also acts in the court to make the above changes to the court order by consent if possible. They feel there will be no problem there.

    So – all is now fixed. I return 5th Jan-12th Jan for another visit.

    The system however is sadly broken.


    Comment by David Picknell — Sun 9th October 2005 @ 8:41 pm

  19. Want a rebate for child support over christmas? Well if you had the kids over christmas (preferably 2 or 3 weeks) point out to IRD that you looked after them for more than 40% of the time. That way she will have to pay you back what she is being assessed at. If you have had them for 6 or 7 weeks you might even be able to extend the shared care classification out to the end of the finacial year. I’ve seen a claim for the former, and I know someone who tried the latter with good success.

    Comment by Devlin — Sun 5th February 2006 @ 5:43 pm

  20. I have quietly sat back and watched as my ex goes on trips overseas,gets a cheap house from housing corp and complains on how hard it all is.I am a labourer and earn an avereage wage. My partner of three years and her three children are stuck in Japan at the moment. So IRD up’s my payments to a single man formula, We are still in a relationship and I still have to pay for the house while we wait for paperwork to be fixed. IRD’s answer is it is not their problem, if I lose the house and have to work a min 50 hour week just to cover, house, bills and child support.
    The formula they use is flawed, if you pay weekly, you pay more than you are supposed to. It is killing me.

    Comment by Ron — Fri 8th December 2006 @ 8:12 pm

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