Absentee fathers are being let off the hook following the Botched Budget, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“The Coalition Government is hell bent on giving absentee fathers a free pass by repealing what used to be known as Section 70A, which is a sanction for sole parents who do not identify the liable parent of the child.

“The Government is basically absolving those parents of their financial responsibilities through this legislation, but that has been a theme from this Government as it has gone soft on sanctions since coming into office.

“National understands that there are times when it’s not appropriate to name the father for safety reasons and other circumstances, that’s why there are exemptions. But when a father can pay child support, he should.

“Beneficiary numbers are up by 13,000 since the election and that’s predicted to keep rising. Jobseeker Support and the emergency benefit are expected to rise by 15,600, with an increased cost of $122 million, while Sole Parent Support benefit recipients are expected to increase by 1,600 at an increased cost of $195 million.

“An increase in the number of people on benefit and children in benefit dependent homes will make it harder for the Government to improve the wellbeing of our most vulnerable children. People are better off when they are in paid work so they can live independent lives and provide a better future for their children.

“At the same time as predicting benefit number increases, the Government is cutting compulsory programmes to assist people into work and they’re reducing funds for childcare assistance.

“This Government doesn’t want what’s best for Kiwis. National believes people deserve a hand up but not a hand out. National would deliver pathways to work so that all New Zealanders have a brighter future.”

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