Media Release Sat 25th Nov 2017
Right to Life is disappointed that the government is now giving a message to fathers of the children of solo mothers that they do not have an obligation to provide for their children. The government is revoking the requirement of solo mothers to divulge the name of the father of their child. Fathers have a serious moral and legal obligation to provide financial support for the children that they have fathered. The state also has a serious moral obligation to ensure that fathers meet their obligations.
The law requiring fathers to support their children was passed by a National government in 1990. The penalties for non-disclosure were increased by a Helen Clark Labour government in 2005.
However the new Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni (pictured above) is about to change all that. Right to Life believes Sepuloni lacks credibility when she says that the legislation discriminates against women and against Maori. Green Party Jan Logie, undersecretary for Justice stated that the name of the father was, ”frankly none of the state’s business.” Right to Life begs to differ and the Minister should note that the current law is working. In 2004 there were 19,443 solo parents who were receiving a weekly $28 reduction in their benefit because they had refused to divulge the name of the father of the child. This had reduced to 13,616 parents in 2016. Right to Life asks why are we now going to head in the wrong direction?
In August 2004, the then Labour Minister of Social Development, the Honourable Steve Maharey stated in Parliament “It is a rort, and I have said time and time again in this Parliament that fathers must front up to their obligations, and we will make sure they do, as much as we can.”