Child support debts: Overseas parents owe $750 million

Child support debts: Overseas parents owe $750 million
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Kiwi parents living overseas are responsible for $750 million in child support debts.

The amount is made up of $76.6 million in unpaid child support payments and $672.7 million in subsequent penalties, figures from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) show.

IRD has the power to apply for an arrest warrant for liable parents who are leaving the country without arranging to pay child support debts.

Between July 1 2016 and June 30 2017, 23 arrest warrants were issued on these grounds. This led to 13 people arranging to pay their debts before they left the country, and 10 arrests being made.

The arrest warrants have reduced child support debt by $1.74 million.

An IRD spokesperson said arrests like this only happen after "exhaustive efforts to contact the customer to arrange a plan to address the debt whether through lump-sum payments or instalments".

The total amount of child support debt owed to IRD is $2.36 billion. In June 2017 the figure went down for the first time in 20 years and was 17.4 percent less than the total June 2016 total.

IRD waives penalties for liable parents who either pay a lump sum or set up regular payment arrangements to pay off their child support debt.


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