A Waikato-based mum is "very disappointed" after finding out the Government's commitment to getting child support payments from overseas parents has been delayed.
Sian, who moved to New Zealand from England two years ago, told Newshub she fears her daughters will be all grown up before she gets a penny from their father who's still in the UK.
"My eldest daughter is now 15, my youngest is 10, and I'm like, is she going to be past 18 by the time this comes in? I've not had any money from him for five years. They don't backdate it or anything, so every single day that goes past he's just getting away with not supporting his children."
In November 2019, then-Revenue Minister Stuart Nash signed New Zealand up to the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance.
Nash said signing New Zealand up would make it easier for Inland Revenue to collect money owed from overseas-based parents who avoid their child support obligations.
Australia and New Zealand have a reciprocal agreement for child support. But about 4200 parents who owe child support do not live in either country and the Government relies on them to voluntarily comply with their obligations.
"Voluntary compliance is low. Around $7.7 million in child support is currently outstanding. We have limited ability to find and keep in touch with people living in other countries," Nash said at the time.
"This agreement will improve that, if the parent lives in one of the 42 countries which have signed the Hague Convention."
Nash said it was expected to come into force in April 2021.A select committee report was completed in March last year, but it's now May and there has been no update.
Sian, who requested not to share her surname, is tired of waiting for the Government to implement its promise.
"I'm just very disappointed. I'd held off going the very long winded route of applying through courts, because this was due to come into effect," she told Newshub.
"If I'd started the process back then, I may well have got somewhere. I haven't had any child support for years now. It's just very, very disappointing."
The select committee report notes how there is currently no way to force parents to pay child support if they live outside Australia or New Zealand, without getting a court order in their country of residence.
"This can be difficult and expensive for New Zealand caregivers and their children who are seeking child support."
Ratifying the Hague Convention would enable New Zealand to seek assistance from other member counties to locate liable parents and refer them for collection, the report says.
It concludes: "We believe that it will have a positive effect on the wellbeing of New Zealand children and will help ensure they receive the benefit of child support payments that their carer is entitled to regardless of where their parents live."
The office of Revenue Minister David Parker said COVID-19 was to blame.
"It was decided before the election that due to the impacts of COVID-19 this would be delayed. It is now expected to come into force in late 2021," a spokesperson told Newshub.
Sian's patience is running out.
"I don't really understand how it would work going through the courts because I don't have any evidence of his income. I thought when this comes out it will be so much easier because they'll have access to Inland Revenue in the UK to find out exactly how much he is due to pay based on how much he's earning.
"That's why I thought it didn't seem to be that long so I'd just wait for that to come in."
Parker's office was unable to provide a specific date for when the Hague Convention will be ratified to give it effect in New Zealand law.
Following questions from Newshub, Inland Revenue's website was updated this week to say the "advent of COVID-19 has meant a delay in the timeline and the Convention is now expected to enter into force late in 2021".