There is very little public information available about arrears in child support payments. We put in an Official Information Act request to find out more about the reality of child support in New Zealand. This is what we found:

What is the total amount of child support outstanding to the government for the year ending 31 March 2018?

  • The total amount of child support outstanding to the government for the year ending 31 March 2018 was $2,381,193,419.

What is the amount of principal owed under the above amount?

  • Of the outstanding amount of $ 2,381,193,419, the principal amount owed is $578,985,051.
  • This indicates that the large majority of outstanding child support payments is comprised of penalties.

How much of the above is the amount of penalties owed under that amount?

  • The amount of penalties in the total child support owing is $1,802,208,368.

How many people owe child support, both in New Zealand and overseas, as of 31 March 2018?

  • 114,932 people in total owe child support arrears both in New Zealand and overseas as of 31 March 2018.

What is the average income of people who owe child support in the year ending on 31 March 2018?

  • The average income of people who owed child support arrears in the year ending on 31 March 2018 was $38,117.

How many people are arrested under Section 199 of the Child Support Act 1991 over the past year?

  • From 1 July 2017 to 15 June 2018 (not a complete year), 22 arrest warrants were issued and 13 arrests were executed under section 199 of the Child Support Act 1991. Less arrest warrants were executed than issued, since, in some cases, the debt was recovered resulting in the arrest warrant being cleared.

How many people were arrested for child support debts in the previous financial year?

  • From 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, 24 arrest warrants were issued and 12 arrest warrants were executed under section 199 of the Child Support Act.

Is the government going to pursue the legislation changes anticipated by the previous office in mid-2017, including the provision that wages and salaries would automatically be deducted from those who pay child support?

  • The Inland Revenue is considering the plan for progressing legislative proposals. You can read about the Government’s tax policy work programme, including child support (under social policy), on the website www.taxpolicy.ird.got.nz in the Work Programme area.

You can read about child support deductions from salaries and wages on the IRD website (www.ird.govt.nz) by following the links New Child Support Changes and Deductions from employment income.