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Child Support Changes Announced

Filed under: General — Rob Case @ 5:10 pm Thu 2nd September 2010

I just caught a glimpse of the advance news summary on TV3.

There was a shot of Peter Dunne taking a seat in front of microphones, a fat report in his hand and the commentary ‘the big plan for child support and how it affects you’ (or something like that).

This could be the plan he hinted at a week or two ago as being close. That’s all I’ve got – you’ll need to keep an eye out to get the rest: TV3 6pm.


  1. Not a lot of detail was given, though Allan Harvey was interviewed and seemed to be pleased with the changes.

    The changes mentioned were:
    -More tracking of parent’s movements (not sure if this meant catching non-custodial parents at airports, or measures to prevent custodial parents abducting)
    -Greater enforcement of mandatory deductions
    -Relaxing of penalties
    -consideration of wider range of expenses in determining support payments
    -taking both parent’s incomes into account

    I dare say specific detail will be in the press soon.

    Comment by rc — Thu 2nd September 2010 @ 6:20 pm

  2. Turns out this is a discussion document only.
    Peter Dunne was interviewed by Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB about it an hour ago here.

    Comment by rc — Thu 2nd September 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  3. IRD website has plenty of info and is seeking feedback.

    Probably a good idea to get over there and put across NCP point of view.

    Watch out for unintended consequences. If they make child support dependant on how much time is spent at each parents house then you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be mothers who further restrict fathers’ access.

    Also, if both incomes are taken into account then NCPs’ marginal tax rates will change depending on custodian parents’ income. It will get very very complicated and hard for NCP to predict (and therefore budget for) their child support liability.

    Comment by Ross — Thu 2nd September 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  4. Will blog on this document over the next week.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Thu 2nd September 2010 @ 8:39 pm

  5. Good to see this topic being discussed and bought forward, I just truly hope it gains some momentum, of which is vital..

    An update of this unfair old fashioned scheme is needed immediately… It is 2010 for goodness sake…..

    There is nothing more constant than change!

    Comment by Whafe — Thu 2nd September 2010 @ 11:17 pm

  6. Why do we have a “liable” parent and a “custodial” parent when doing shared care?? Does liable translate to higher earning? Why would the custodial parent bother to get a full time, better earning job when she can earn a salary off the liable parent ($18k in this case!)

    Comment by panda — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 9:22 am

  7. I’m surprised at how in the media (National radio, Dunne etc) they use the words “custody”and “non-custodial”. I thought these terms went out with the COC Act? Also Dunne comments that men are now “more involved” with their children.

    What world did these officials grow up in? Personally I am a man, who is a caregiver, who never declined responsibility for his children. These labels and terms used are a concern.

    Comment by Nik — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 11:53 am

  8. Good observations Nik. The other point that we haven’t heard any acknowledgement about from Dunne Nothing4men is that the child tax and DPB system actively works against fathers’ meaningful contribution to their children. Channelling fathers’ resources to mothers makes it unavailable to fathers for directly contributing to the needs and welfare of their children. If fathers did not have to pay child tax, the vast majority would spend as much or more on their children’s needs directly and this would contribute hugely to the emotional welfare of children by increasing the time, bonding and identity children develop with their fathers. The vast majority of fathers, if not required to channel their resources through child tax, would be happy to cover more than a fair share of schooling, clothing, health costs etc if the mothers were looking after the children for more of the time. Even with 50/50 shared care, most fathers if they earned a lot more than the mothers would contribute more than a half share of the children’s costs. Most fathers have always been deeply concerned to do the best for their children.

    Also, child tax and even more so the DPB system incentivize mothers to limit fathers’ time with children, because if fathers get to look after children too much then the mothers lose income. That is carefully ignored by Dunne Nothing and other officials who will provide nothing to address that problem in the current “reforms”, showing that their concern is not really for the best interests of children. As you imply, they have little understanding of the real situation or the best interests of children.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  9. Allan did well today on ‘Breakfast’ – see video here.

    He’s got a lovely manner, IMO.

    Comment by julie — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  10. Hey Scrap, a TV journalist told me CS will be a topic covered for about a month and I’d love to understand what’s going on. I look forward to you breaking this down and letting us all know what the changes or possible changes mean for everyone.

    Comment by julie — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  11. Thanks Julie,

    I just hope everyone here on MENZ submitts reasoned arguments for change – a guide on how to do that is comming.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  12. You have to remember the same thinking that created the problem is the thinking of that they are trying to use to solve it.

    Regards Scrap

    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  13. Yes, I managed to get the TV on in time and was very impressed too.

    It’s about time we had spokesmen who articulate the issues clearly, and who come across as sensible, mainstream blokes. Well done Alan!

    Here’s the link to Alan’s interview on RadioNZ:
    Union of Fathers wants more detail on child support changes

    Finally, here’s a link to the RadioNZ announcement, which includes an interview with Dunne:
    Government embarks on major overhaul of child support system

    Comment by JohnPotter — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  14. It seems that the new method of calculating child support may solve some problems, but it will also create a whole bunch of new problems.

    It gives mothers a financial incentive to limit fathers’ access.
    It gives mothers a (further) disincentive to work.
    It continues to give fathers a disincentive to earn more.
    It will simply encourage further hiding of income.
    And, the losers will continue to be the children and their Dads 🙁

    I look forward to your “guide” on how to respond to all this. It seems to me that if we don’t get heard by the voting public (and therefore English/Dunne etc) then we will have to wait a long time before we get another chance.

    Comment by Ross — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  15. a guide on how to do that is coming.

    Awesome. I think many will look forward to this.

    Comment by julie — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  16. NIIIICE. There must be a trick to get the embedded code.

    Comment by julie — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  17. Here’s another reasoned voice close to home.

    Comment by julie — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  18. Im sad to say that Im with you on this Ross.
    Until someone at a high enough level will admit to the elephant in the room is that “Child support” has nothing to do with supporting children then all this malarkey is really like re arranging the deck chairs on the titanic.
    My Ex moved the kids 5 hours away how do these supposed knowitalls suggest I do shared parenting?
    Mo money mo money mo money
    Child tax is a tax and dunnenothing aint about to be the first minister of tax who worked out how to get less.

    Comment by mits — Fri 3rd September 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  19. Kiwiblog has something on the changes.

    Comment by julie — Sat 4th September 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  20. Whilst I would be pleased to see any fairness introduced into the child tax system which results in the unhindered involvement of BOTH loving parents, the whole situation leaves me bemused.

    For it appears there are very few voices calling for NZ to look at the BIG elephant in the room which all too often leads to such terribly high divorce rates – ‘no fault’ divorce law.

    The one scrap of comfort I have about this is that societies that don’t make it ridiculously easy to divorce will slowly but surely supersede societies such as NZ.
    That’s because they won’t have the crime rate that goes hand in hand with under-parented youth.
    Nor will they be wasting precious resources on dealing with such crime and the whole shonky resource sucking divorce – domestic violence-social ‘welfare’ triad.

    To my mind unraveling the ridiculous ‘no fault’ divorce imbroglio NZ is in would be the most sensible form of child support.

    Imagine a country that isn’t spending billions on a combination of social ‘welfare’, hounding hundreds of thousands of parents for child tax and building youth prisons faster than universities.

    Imagine a country where free of PC you can reasonably speak your mind without fear that simplistic draconian domestic violence laws and secretive ‘family’ courts effectively make NZ one big open plan prison where everybody else is your ‘warder’ and a sentence is only an uncorroborated accusation away.

    Statism and ‘no fault’ divorce.

    Wedded at the hip.

    Headed for the tip.

    Comment by Skeptik — Sun 5th September 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  21. I have read the discussion document, there is a cap for the combined income for both the parents………this is so unfair, the cap should be the maximum divided by two, e.g if the maximum is $150,000 then it should be capped at $75,000.00 for each parent, This would give each parent the incentive to work extra hours or O/Time.

    More again the proposal is targeted at capacity to earn rather than the requirement needed to raise a child. Child Support Tax should never be more than what the GOVT pays as a benefit, because the GOVT will never pay more than what is required to raise a child.

    I am on a good salary, because I have decided to work unlike my ex who is on DBP, I have a huge student loan and pay high tax, I will be paying child support in the new proposed law,because IRD will be adding my one rental loss, which I have invested for my retirement and not including my partner in the living allowance.

    Once again the living allowance used for child support calculation will be the pathetic one third of the average salary in NZ, living allowance should be one third of the taxable earning of each parent.

    For once Mr. Dunne reward the hardworking parents who actually decide to work and help the country prosper rather then the parents who just decide to get DPB. How can a adults living allowance be less than what is required to raise a child? Does it really cost $18,000 to raise a child? This is more than any benefit given by the govt as well as nz super.

    Comment by Disappointed NCP — Sun 5th September 2010 @ 10:21 pm


    Comment by Disappointed NCP — Sun 5th September 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  23. Alan is doing a great job and I urge all to support him.

    He is a positive face for the call for reform.



    P.S Still syudying the documents, will post during the week.

    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Mon 6th September 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  24. That says it all. Come to tax policy.revenue.government.publications.

    Comment by Watchful Eye — Tue 7th September 2010 @ 9:57 am

  25. There is only living allowance for the dependent child, what about the partner of the NCP, does this mean that the partner of the NCP can claim DBP or claim working for familes tax credits, does this also mean that the partner income will be excluded from WFFTC when the NCP partner applies for any benefits, BECAUSE NOW THE NCP IS NOT HELD LIABLE TO FINANCILLY SUPPORT HIS PARTNER………….CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN PLEASE

    Comment by Disappointed NCP — Tue 7th September 2010 @ 5:40 pm

  26. I want to know how you become a custodial parent? We currently do shared care we do 3 days and she does 4. If we do 4 and she does 3 it makes no difference apparently to our child support we pay. If we do 5 then it does. However as the mother I would not be very happy seeing my children less AND giving up the $18k which apparently it cost to maintain 3 children under 12 for 4 days a week. It is crippling. It gives the mother no incentive to get a better job and gives the father no incentive to have the children more. This money is tax free for the mother and is calulated after tax so we pay twice once with higher tax and twice with supporting a mother to live the lifestyle she choses.

    Comment by panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 11:54 am

  27. In a shared care situation is child support paid because:
    a) you are not the custodial parent (you have them one night less)
    b) you earn more

    How come if we wanted the children 4 nights and mum have them 3 we would still need to pay child support? Currently we have them 3 and mum 4. How come the custodial parent receiving child support dictates this? If we wanted the children 5 nights to stop paying such huge sums we don’t have that choice? There is no incentive to have the children another night. How do you become a custodial parent? It is so unfair:( there is no way out.
    These children have a loving father who would give them the earth and that opportunity has been taken away financially.

    Comment by panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  28. The problem here Panda is that your confusing Child tax AKA ex-spousal support with something that is meant to be for the support of children.
    Its an easy mistake to make considering the naming of said child tax.
    In shared care its paid to predominantly the mummy because
    a) they have custody and
    b) even if she earns more, mumsy will usually want a top up

    If you ask her, you will find that mummy can agree to you having the child up to 7 nights so long as it doesnt effect her ex-spousal support.
    Mummy dictates this “because she can”
    How do you become a custodial parent? its easy go to family caught and tell the judge you have a vagina.
    Of course its unfair you dont get over a billion dollars owed in penalties for a system that is inherantly just.
    Child tax is a tax all this hoohaa about having a reform of child tax isnt worth hooey.
    Its more about giving mommy dearest a punative weapon to hold you to for the next 19 years than anything to do with the welfare of children.
    Ask yourself and anyone you know in receipt of child tax wether they would agree to the person paying even paying more but paying it to schools clothing medical bills etc etc so mother doesnt get the cash and see how many would agree.
    Check how many times you hear people comment on their child tax entitlement. Theirs ” its my money, mo money mo money”
    This has very little if anything to do with children.

    Comment by mits — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  29. Thank you for your most refreshing reply! This was suggested earlier before the big demand for child support came in. We offered to take on school fees ($6000) extracurricular activities etc in lieu of CS of course this was declined because we took away the choice making from the mother. Of course we have now lost the choice of how best to spend the money and we cringe when we hear of purchases for a 10 year old shoes for touch costing over $100! We wear warehouse shoes! Unfortunately the mother is getting use to having all this extra money and we all know how hard it is to give up.
    I am also a reciever of child support I have the children full time and claim $300 a week off my ex because I think it is fair and reasonable (I could claim $483) I have done the sums and calcuate this is what it costs and they are half my responsiblity too! The father is also taking them on holiday for 7 weeks which is awesome! So there are good stories out there but the unfair ones eat you up.

    Comment by panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  30. Holy mackeral panda your spending $6oo dollars a week on just your children???
    thats incredible.
    How on earth do you afford that every week week in and week out.
    Six hundred dollars a week
    over 30 000 yearly just on the kids thats amazing. Your kids must want for nothing.

    Comment by mits — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  31. Mits, its $300 a week, the way we came to that figure is we took portion of mortgage, power, phone, internet etc clothing, birthdays, activities and it works out about $100 a week to run a child full time. The father is in Dubai with no responsibilities except financial. If we lived together this figure would be the same. I was pointing out that it is well below the IRD figure. It is also well below what we pay for shared care for half time. I work, I could demand the full amount from the father and not bother working and enjoy a beautiful life. I wanted to let you know that some mums (usually mum) have a concience, in this case no one did anything wrong it just was not working. He had the children full time to avoid paying cs. Then an opportunity came up to travel and with my blessing he took it and i now have the children.
    I think the point you are making is that no one spends cs solely on children. You are right but within reason.

    Comment by panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  32. Panda,

    Your sums would have the cost of rasing a child far in excess of what a number of people earn.

    While your approach sounds good your sums make sum assumptions that dont stack up.

    Dont get me wrong if that works for you good and well but your modelling of the costs of rasing a child would not stand up to critique.



    Comment by Scrap_The_CSA — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  33. True, but the costs are from IRD website which the liable parent is expected to pay and can be made to pay. We are in the fortunate position of having a good income but still pay the same proportion as everyone else. If I were on my own I would certainly claim all the child support, if the father did not contribute in any other way (either financially or shared care) the rest would come from wff and my job. My partner works full time why can’t the children’s mother. I work part time so I am available to look after my children and his! If I were on my own I guess I would be working full time, oh that’s right I would be able to claim $18k off the childrens father and work part time!
    My sums were simply a demonstration that I do not need to claim full child support off the childrens father because in our family we can manage on far less.

    Comment by Panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  34. OOps that last figure should have been $25133, wow I really wouldn’t have to work at all. MM maybe I need to rethink my generosity, after all it’s my right isn’t it??

    Comment by Panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  35. So let me get this straight.. you are now charging for mortgage etc “for the kids” cos the father is not with you. But you were not claiming this or considering this when you were together..hmmm. I can understand asking money for clothing edication etc but isn’t providing a home a duty of the parents. Funny someone should charge their kids rent money (since CS is for the children). power.. don’t u use this as well. how much is your usage??…and phone??..isn’t this a monthly rental unless the kid is making sonme toll calls.. are parents this stingy??…

    Comment by karan jiharr — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 8:26 pm

    Page 9
    Figure 2: Estimated average estimated weekly expenditure for raising
    the first, second, third and fourth child

    Wow I don’t know where they get those high income figures from! My $100 a week per child were not too out of line Scrap?

    Comment by Panda — Wed 8th September 2010 @ 8:32 pm

  37. Panda Ive said it here before and I’ll say it again. You dont usually find people who have come to a private agreement complaining about Child support. Its IRD that usually muddy the pond.
    So what works for you and your ex fair enough go for it.

    Seems to me you might be trolling here for a bit of a wind up but I’ll bite.
    It should be $600 you spend on the children not $300 because to my way of thinking your ex should be contributing 50% of their needs and you would be liable for the other 50.
    (I could claim $483) I have done the sums and calcuate this is what it costs and they are half my responsiblity too! Just so long as you are not expected to pay for that half eh?

    Reading back over your recent posts am I right in saying that you are quite happy with what your ex pays you as this is your entitlement and in fact you could have even taken more but in a display of generosity and magnamimousity have got by on less.
    But your not happy with what your current partner has to pay to his ex as this seems to you to be supporting a mother to live the lifestyle she choses.
    Would that sum it up?


    Comment by mits — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 8:19 am

  38. “If we lived together this figure would be the same”.

    Of course the cost of the house hold would go up with children living in it. I don’t charge my children rent I include mortgage/power/phone etc as part of the cost of running a child. If I had no children my power, mortgage, internet useage etc would be less. We are moving into an larger house because of the children. Have a look at the link above in the summary doc about living costs. How have you figured out how much it cost to run a child?
    I certainly don’t hand each child a $100 each a week for their use only.

    Comment by Panda — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 9:21 am

  39. Mits, you have brought up some valid points I have not thought about before.
    I guess I am stroking my own ego saying that I am being generous and reasonable. I am still a little confused to what some people are getting at. Do you think it is ok for the father to leave the children with me and not contribute financially? I would be interested in your thoughts on what the ideal cs situation is. I think what we are paying the mother of my partners children is excessive in a 50/50 shared care situation when she can earn a good income if she so wished. Ideally in a 50/50 both parents should pay half of all costs eg: school fees, sports etc and run their households independantly and cover costs of the children while in their care. My partner pays over $30k in tax, he also pays his half of care plus her half plus her wff (indirectly through tax!)
    I look forward to your thoughts!

    Comment by Panda — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 9:32 am

  40. Another thought … my time. I don’t contribute that other $300 in cash but I have the children 24/7 pretty good deal for full time child care $300 a week all cost included? Wonder what my hourly rate would be? $3.50 per hour over 80 hours of wake time. When my ex had the kids full time I had the kids when he was on shift work and so he did not ‘call in’ my portion of cs in as he knew he would have to pay alot more in childcare than the $40 a week he could claim off me.

    Comment by Panda — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 10:51 am

  41. I don’t contribute that other $300 in cash but I have the children 24/7 pretty good deal for full time child care $300 a week all cost included?

    Sad to see hands on parenthood being thought of as merely a job.
    You know, like street cleaning or packing biscuits in a factory.
    Even so following that logic the father is a parent 24/7 too as he’s on active standby even though physically not present with them (as you are when away from the children shopping, when the children are at school, visiting friends etc); and whose to say whilst the father is not physically with the children he isn’t ‘on the job’ thinking about them and how to sustain their wellbeing?
    Should he get paid for that too?

    It never ceases to amaze me how easily fathers get so horribly marginalized by mothers in NZ; and how quickly mothers can reduce the privilege of parenting to a mere financial transaction.
    It’s telling that the latin root of the words mother, matriarch and materialism are the same.

    Mater (English pronunciation: /?me?t?r/, plural matres /?me?tri?z/) is a formal term for mother, from Latin.

    : a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants

    “Materialism” (materiality, rather than intellect or spirituality, is fundamental to reality).

    Comment by Skeptik — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 11:30 am

  42. I was going to give it a go Skeptic but then I thought,
    troll looking for a wind up and an entitlement princess to boot, mits me ole china your wasting your time there.

    Her entitlement is sacrosant but oh my god there is another entitlement princess who has encroached on “her money”

    If it wasnt so tragic it would be hilarious.

    No sorry got that the wrong way around , if it wasnt so Hilarious it would be tragic.

    Comment by mits — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  43. Okay so let me get this straight. Father leaves country to further his career. Mother looks after children (which she agreed to do, it wasn’t abandoment) so he can “think” about the children and their wellbeing and that is it?
    And yes I do think of it as a job! The most important job in the world, and yes like street cleaning it is essential and not all that exciting sometimes.
    I am gobsmacked at the attitude of these righteous people out there. I used this page as an opportunity to find out more about the complications of cs and have been shocked at the attitudes towards mothers. The more I read I feel less inclined to write to appropriate channels and support the liable parent anymore. I certainly feel attacked on this page for simply asking for financial contribution to a parent who is on the other side of the world.
    So you fathers (I guess you are?) think you don’t have to contribute at all financially to the mother if you don’t look after the children at all. Just think about them a lot? It sounds like the only way to make you bite is to hit you in the pocket where it hurts.

    Comment by Panda — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  44. Yes mits,
    I have to agree.
    No use using further words there.

    Comment by Skeptik — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  45. If you are so miffed, a lot of fathers on this site are willing to take on responsibility to their children..
    Why aren’t mothers letting them.


    Not charge your ex for mortgage of your place. It is your duty to provide a place for yoyur kid when the kid is with you. Not your ex’s. Hard being the provider isn’t it?/.. this is what all men go thru and do day in and day out. Then there are women who have “expectations” of gimme gimme even after separation. Men wouldn’t mind providing for their family however when there is a separation why do women feel he should still pay for their upkeep.

    Oh and taking away those bullcrap costs for mortgage power etc which are duty costs (your costs for fulfilling your duty- not the kids) it doesn’t cost that much to raise a kid. $150 max.

    You should count it as a priviledge not a job that you have been given the opportunity to take your kids on outings and be part of their recreational development ..its not a job… its how you raise a kid. Raising a kid is not a job.. it’s a priviledge and your duty when you became a parent. Thatis real parenting.. not the legal bullcrap spouted by IRD…

    Comment by karan jiharr — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  46. Thank-you Karea for very sensible comment.
    I wish there were lots more women in NZ with your mature responsible attitude.

    Comment by Skeptik — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  47. Panda, if you are still reading, I think you are being very reasonable in the CS that you and your children’s father have come to agreement on. If agreement can be reached that both parents feel ok about, that’s got to be good for children. And I agree that the situation for your current partner seems unreasonable and exploitative.

    The issue of how to calculate what children cost is complicated. I don’t believe it’s usually reasonable to include the “custodial” parent’s rent or mortgage, because if the other parent is to play a meaningful role in the children’s lives (s)he will also have to keep a house with space for them to stay.

    In your case the father is in another country. He may not have to maintain accommodation for the children and it’s reasonable in that case that he shares something of the costs of the accommodation you provide. His expenses in having the children over would need to be taken into account though; IRD would make him pay throughout the 7 weeks he had the children, but I would guess that you don’t expect him to pay the $300 per week while he has them.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Thu 9th September 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  48. The IRD has all the contact details of parents paying and receiving child support through their system – it must of been so hard for them to contact all these people asking them for information. Seems like a shifty cover-up to me!

    Comment by Melanie Rex — Wed 17th November 2010 @ 6:56 am

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