1525.41% increase in Child Support – Why This Hardworking Mum of 3 is Very Upset


This is a situation where we have an extremely hardworking, tax paying parent.

Unfortunately, because of the shared care child support formula they are having money forceably removed from not only their household budget, but from the very children that child support is meant to be focused on.

This is due to circumstances and choices, completely out of the affected parents control.

Note: We are aware that this is just one example and that there are many unfairly treated mums and dads out there. It can be unjust on all sides of equation.

This is one of the unfair formula driven outcomes that can come about when three factors are mixed together.

  • 50/50 or similar shared care of children
  • 1 of the parents on a benefit
  • An average or less than average income of the working parent

This formula destroying trifecta is not unusual.

There are also many variations of the above, that can result in extremely unfair outcomes.

Prior to April 2015

This real world situation had its beginnings, earlier this year:

In or around February 2015 thousands of NZ parents received a notice advising them of how the new changes to the child support system were going to affect them.

When Kathy opened the IRD envelope, she was completely unprepared for what was inside.

Kathy says:

I had heard that changes were coming however as they had promoted them as FAIRER I thought YAY – I won’t have to pay anything! Joke was on me aye!

As a hard working parent with 50/50 care of her kids she was just surviving on the previous formula.

Prior to this disturbing letter she paid a few dollars to IRD in child support and took care of the kids when they were with her.

Her ex paid when they were with him, the rest of the expenses were shared.

From April 2015

Her payments had skyrocketed to $249.50 a month.

It was an extreme shock.

So it went up from $15 pm to $249.50 pm – nearly 1600%!!

She did what many of us would do in this situation, stormed down to the local IRD and tried to get some answers.

..it was a joke. Very patronising and the lady certainly didn’t know what she was talking about and simply said as we were leaving that I had to pay because my ex was on a benefit.

The Main Issue

You might be thinking that sounds fair enough, maybe she earns more than her ex.

But here is the kicker:
Her kids do not get that money.

I’m paying for a very capable man to sit on the dole while I’m having to pay $3000 per year for him.

The money goes directly to the government.

Kathy doesn’t have anything against her ex, and she realizes she cannot control what he does.

A number of you may be thinking, well why should the tax payers have to pay towards his benefit? A good point but let’s remember Kathy is also a tax payer, and so already paying her share as much as the rest of us.

Child support should be about supporting kids, not paid to the government to help support exes.

Written Letters Asking For Explanation

Kathy started writing letters to every minister she could think of.

Although she has asked, more than once, the Government has been unable to adequately explain to her how the system is fair, or good for her children.

why is it unfair

This alone should set off warning bells to every parent, and planning to be parent.

Kathy has done nothing wrong, she works hard at her job and pays taxes.

Despite earning only a modest salary she is one of those parents that does take responsibility for her kids. She is a contributing member of society.

We asked Kathy to summarize what she has been told in the correspondence to date, she had this to say:

Kathy: To sum up what I have been told over the past 7 months:
1. The policy is fair because it isn’t based on what race, religion and gender the parents are. (Great – I thought that would of been a given but so glad it was pointed out to me.)

2. Lifestyle choices are not a consideration of the Child Support Act. (Awesome – I can’t be bothered working either)

3. It’s fair for Tax payers because they should not have to pay for other peoples’ children. (That’s good – I’m a tax payer too and don’t think I should have to pay for my ex-mother in law’s child not to work)

4. I have to let the IRD or WINZ know that my ex husband is capable of working. (I already work full time with 3 children to look after – why do I have to do their jobs for them as well?)

5. The MSD base beneficiaries work expectations on their childcare responsibilities (I am a hard working tax payer that sorts out my own childcare responsibilities. Why should I be expected by this government to work full time, sort out my child care while others are given an excuse not to!)


It can be really tough surviving as a solo parent. Imagine having to pay out $3000 a year to the government for the kids you are already supporting.

She has the option of applying for an admin review but after hearing about all the others that have tried, and not succeeded, plus having some stressful health issues with one of her kids she is not keen to go through it.

And why should she have to?

What is your opinion?

Is this situation fair? If not how do you think the government should handle it?

If you think it is fair can you explain why?

ChildSupportNZ.com works hard to protect the privacy of individuals. As such, names are changed where necessary. Thank you for understanding.

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1 Comment

  1. I have a son pays child support for his son he has 50/50 shared care , he works hard , yet his ex sits at home on a sickness benefit , and lives with a her partner also on a benefit . how is that fair. no wonder people get angry, and he heard about the reviews and couldn’t deal with the stress of it all so didn’t bother. it should be based on a case by case.

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