Time to remove law that discriminates against sole parents

It’s time to repeal a harmful law that sanctions those who do not name the other parent of their child, Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says.

“Every week, 17,000 children are missing out because their sole parent is being sanctioned for not identifying the child’s other parent. The average loss is between $22 and $28 a week – a huge amount for families struggling to get by.

“The intent of this legislation was to encourage fathers to pay their child support, but the administration of it has been patchy and unfair – 97.7% of people sanctioned are women, and 52.8% Maori. The law isn’t working as intended, and its hurting people.”

“The way this law is being implemented is making things even worse. All that is required is for a parent to write a personal statement about why they haven’t identified the other parent. Yet people who come in to Work and Income are being told they need to go to a lawyer, which is unaffordable for most.

“This is especially concerning when women feel pressured to release the identity of the father when there may be fear of violence, or if the child is a product of incest or rape.

“Today, I have lodged an SOP to amend sections of the Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill to ensure sole parents and their children are treated fairly.”

“It’s time to stop discriminating against sole parents, and to make sure young children are not missing out because of bad legislation,” says Carmel Sepuloni.