Who would ever have thought that National would be seen to be supporting dead beat dads?
It seems incongruous but that is what John Key, Bill English and Steve Joyce have done with their bludgers budget: they have given dead beat dads a write off of their penalty payments.
At least two left wing media commentators will be ecstatic about those changes in the budget.
Prime Minister John Key says he hopes that plans to write off $1.7 billion in penalty payments on parents who missed child support payments will encourage those who have moved overseas to start paying child support again.
Revenue Minister Todd McClay said the overly punitive system had resulted in “paralysing” debts for some parents which meant they had given up trying to pay and thousands had gone overseas.
About 120,000 people had child support debt which totalled $3.2 billion – about half of which was owed by people now living overseas. Only $700 million of the total was in child support while the rest was interest and penalty fees for late payments.
Mr Key said it was the responsibility of liable parents to make child support payments. “They have a legal obligation to pay for their kids and they have a moral obligation to pay for their kids, and they should be doing it.”
However, the Government had to take a pragmatic approach and recognise that many were simply failing or could not afford to meet those obligations.
“We need to breathe the hope into those 120,000 families and individuals who see a hopeless position.
“What we are saying to those people is to come back, start making the principal payments to those low-income families that you owe it to, and we will forgive the interest and we will forgive the penalties.”