The pillage of Men in New Zealand
I came across a dejected looking man sitting on the footpath the other day, so I sat down to have a chat to him. I’ve done this off and on since the late 1970s, just one of the random things I occasionally do, and I’ve heard some interesting tales of woe over the years.
There’s always a problem, and even if one can’t help or do anything for them, I’m always interested to know how any man ends up this way. It often looks as simple as the effects of alcohol or drugs, but there is usually a back story to that, if you dig a bit further. (Incidentally, I did actually find a woman living on the street once – she’d been a medical student and fried her brain with one of their home-bake drug mixes)
Below is a story I have long expected to hear, but it still surprised me when I actually heard it.
Our man had once been married, children of course, then separated, and had never been able to stay ahead of his child support payments. His ex-wife had been on DPB for some time, but then started working. Unhappy about how much she was getting from him at the time, she successfully applied for an assessment which was immediately backdated to cover the period of the DPB, again increasing his child support liability.
It gradually got the better of him, and there’s obviously an element of depression in there too, but now having recently lost his job the IRD are deducting child support from his benefit.
I’m not going to publish the actual figure, even though I’ve seen a printout of his account, but he’s receiving less than $140.00 per week.
That’s enough to graze at the supermarket I suppose.
If he did get fulltime work, at the minimum wage, and taking into account deductions for tax and child support he could probably double that to $280.00 a week. But with the never ending addition of penalties, if he doesn’t kill himself sometime soon, he’ll no doubt end up paying the revenue department more than the government ever gave his ex-wife for the entire time she was on the DPB, and never actually clear the child support arrears.
Obviously this guy is a bit of a loner or perhaps shamed into being a loner because of his perceived failure, but how many guys are shacked up in a mate’s garage, or back home at Mum’s place, or a Sallies’ refuge, in the same situation?
How much is the State saving by reducing men’s unemployment benefits through child support deductions?