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Dr Muriel Newman

The Dangers of Dependency

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The new government will announce a mini budget on 14 December. It may well include some of the changes to the welfare system that Labour promised during the election campaign.

Welfare reform requires great care. Of all policy areas, the unintended consequences of getting it wrong can be devastating, especially for children.

In 1998 (the days when there was still free speech in New Zealand – before the politically correct brigade had gained the upper hand and the power to persecute anyone who dared oppose their agenda) the former Governor General, Sir Michael Hardie Boys, spoke candidly about the dangers to children of being raised in single parent families.

Drawing on his years of experience in family law and as a Judge, Sir Michael told the Fathering and the Future forum organised by the Children’s Commissioner, “It is beyond dispute that a child is best nurtured by both parents. The parenting most likely to be successful is a partnership, in commitment and love, between mother and father. The children most likely to be maladjusted, with all the personal and social consequences that follow from that, are those who grow up in single parent families; and that is especially so with boys who grow up fatherless. And in New Zealand there are tens of thousands of them, and the numbers are increasing as the rate of divorce increases, along with the number of ex-nuptial births and sole parents. Rattling off statistics depersonalises the effects of all this. Suffice it to say that they are all too apparent in truancy and school dropouts, delinquency and vandalism, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and suicide.”

He spoke about the need for children to have both mothers and fathers in their lives: “The particular relationship between father and daughter, or father and son, cannot be filled by mothers, no matter how wonderful they are. This is simply in the nature of things. Nor can the role be filled by another man, even less by a succession of men, the home environment for so many children today.”

Sir Michael believes that there is not nearly enough recognition of the crucial role of fathers: “How many men understand that their children, boys as well as girls, need their affection, need it to be demonstrated, not just spoken about; and that if they don’t get it from father, they will look for it elsewhere? How many men realise that their sons look to them as role models, and if they fail, their sons will look elsewhere? How many men realise their children’s need for companionship, for a sharing of all the small and large experiences of childhood and youth? And that if they can’t get it from their fathers, they will look elsewhere? And when they do, that can be very hurtful to father. And it can be very dangerous for son. Just think, for example, how gang leaders fill the father role model for so many youngsters.”

Over the years, the risks to children from single parenting that Sir Michael foretold have increased. Welfare dependency in New Zealand is now intergenerational. According to the Ministry of Social Development, most young people who enter the benefit system have been brought up by a parent on a benefit: “Nearly three quarters of all beneficiaries up to age 25 had a parent on benefit while they were a child”.

With three out of four children raised by a parent on welfare growing up to become beneficiaries themselves, the new Government’s priority should surely be on moving sole parents into work.

However, instead of reducing sole parent dependency and intergeneration welfare, the changes being planned will further entrench them.

Once Labour’s proposed benefit increases are introduced, a single parent on a benefit with two children under the age of 12 will get more in real terms than at any time since the sole parent benefit was introduced in 1973.

In addition to making benefits far more generous – and therefore harder to leave – under Labour’s coalition agreement with the Green Party, they are planning to lift sanctions.

This was a change that was called for by the former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, who admitted benefit fraud to make her point.

It turns out that she was receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) as a solo parent from 1993 until late 1998 but failed to tell the Social Welfare Department that her ‘flatmates’ – including the father of her child and her mother – were helping to pay the rent. 

At the time, she refused to name the father of her child, which meant the Welfare Department was unable to ascertain whether she was living in a relationship with the father – which would have made her ineligible for the DPB. Nor could the Inland Revenue Department pursue the father for child support to help reimburse taxpayers for the cost of raising his child.

An expectation that fathers would contribute towards the cost of raising their children, had been a key part of the 1973 Social Security Amendment Act (No 34), which introduced the DPB. In taking on the role of breadwinner, to provide stable incomes for sole parents and their children, the State required the private maintenance obligations of fathers to be retained.

In fact, Section 27B (4) of the Act stated, “If a person qualifies as an applicant… the Commission may, in its discretion, refuse to grant a benefit under this section until such time as the applicant has obtained a maintenance order for the applicant and the applicant’s child or children or has entered into a registered maintenance agreement which, in the opinion of the Commission, makes reasonable provision for the maintenance of the applicant and the applicant’s child or children.”

Under this provision, mothers being granted the DPB were required to take maintenance proceedings against their child’s father, with the proceeds paid into the Consolidated Fund to offset the cost of the benefit.

It was this requirement that distinguished the DPB from other benefits – it was not paid ‘as of right’ to those who met the eligibility criteria unless they also satisfied the maintenance requirements.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, welfare researcher Lindsay Mitchell, has been following developments and explains:

“When a benefit-dependent sole parent refuses to name the father of her children a penalty is incurred. That’s because the state is then unable to recoup any of her benefit from the liable parent. But Green MP Jan Logie, now Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (focussing on Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) maintains:

‘Is it appropriate to deprive women of essential income when the reasons people don’t name a father are personal, private and, frankly, none of the state’s business?’

“So if a mother isn’t naming the father because she has come to a private arrangement to directly receive a sum greater than $28 (but less than his otherwise calculated child support liability) it’s none of the state’s business?”

This is one of the rorts that former lawyer and National MP Judith Collins, described in a Parliamentary debate in 2004: “One particular father said he had arranged with the mother of the child that he would not be named on the birth certificate. I can remember looking at that man, who must have been 40 and who was having his first child – that he knew of – and asking why he would not be named. He said that he and the mother had arranged it so that he would give her some cash and she could get the domestic purposes benefit. This is not just an issue for people on low incomes; this issue goes right through our society.”

At the time, the Government was increasing the Section 70A penalty of $22 a week per child for not naming a father – that had been introduced by Labour in 1990 – by a further $6 per household a week. Labour’s Minister of Social Welfare Steve Maharey explained: “This bill also puts into effect changes to the regime that encourages sole parents to establish paternity for their children and apply for child support. For these families the State will step in to help them financially when they cannot financially support themselves. However, in doing so the State also expects the other parent to contribute to the costs of the child. It is not unreasonable to expect that single parents bringing up children on their own identify who in law is the other parent, or to expect that they seek financial support for the child from the other parent. It is not unreasonable to penalise financially those who do not. It is not a new philosophy.” 

The Minister also pointed out that exemptions were available, including for sole parents who could prove there was a threat of violence against them or their children, if they named the father.

These requirements are still in place today, and as of 31 March last year, almost 20 percent of all mothers on a sole parent benefit had not named the fathers of their children.

Altogether there were 13,616 parents with section 70A deductions for not naming the fathers of around 17,000 children. Of those, 10,848 parents had a sanction for one child, 2,189 for two children, 476 for three children, 82 for four children, and 21 parents had sanctions for five children or more.

Of those listed as having a penalty for failing to name a liable parent, 318 were men. This raises questions over why they are able to get away with not naming the mother, when surely the name of the mother would have been recorded on the child’s birth certificate.

Of the 2,825 parents listed as having an exemption from the deductions, 1,106 were still under consideration, with the mothers “taking active steps” to name the fathers – and 533 were for “violence”. This means that claims that women should not be compelled to name the fathers of their children because there is a ‘huge risk’ of violence against them if they do so, are clearly overstated since, when evidence is required, only a very small proportion of women can show that a real threat of violence exists.

However, should the Government go ahead and remove the penalty it is highly likely that others may take advantage of this racket.

As far as a child is concerned, not having their father named on their birth certificate is a gross violation of their right to know who their parents are. It’s also a gross violation of their right to be raised by their mother and their father.   

Since children raised by parents who are working have, in general, a much better chance of success in life, than those being raised on welfare, a caring Government should be doing everything in its power to ensure that the changes it intends to make to the benefit system will enhance the wellbeing  of children. We know the incidence of social dysfunction – child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, educational failure, crime, suicidal behaviour – is much higher in single parent households.  By making sole parent benefits more generous, and removing sanctions, the new Labour Government is going to make these problems worse.

Indeed it’s regrettable that when the National Government was undertaking its major reform of the welfare system in 2012, that it didn’t follow the recommendations of the Welfare Working Group to replace the sole parent benefit as a statutory entitlement, with support based on work. Doing so would not only have aligned our welfare system with those of most other developed nations, but it would also have sent out a clear signal to parents that it’s far better for children to be raised in households where parents work. 

The Prime Minister says she wants to reduce child poverty and that’s laudable.

But instead of focussing on what’s easiest for the beneficiary, the new government should focus on what’s best for the child. Encouraging intergenerational welfare dependency is not in anyone’s best interest.


Should the penalties on sole parent beneficiaries who do not name the father of their child be abolished?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Society today is going down the drain with the increase in solo parenting. It is the child of these situations that is most at risk and ultimately disadvantaged. Is this not the real reason we need to plan for more prisons. Frank
It’s just to be a way of life for so many. Why should tax payers be responsible for the irresponsible people who have no way of caring financially for their children. Maybe their families should step up to the plate and help too look after them, taxpayers pay enough and with this socialist government it’s going to get worse.  Audrey
Most solo mums have no idea who fathered their child, the only reason to have another child is to claim further benefits. Allan
Why should WE have to pay and leave the father scot-free  Peter
Parents who do not support all of their children financially should be taxed by the State to recover whatever State funding has to be spent to support those children. Ernest
NO!!! This uncontrolled state sponsored breeding frenzy has turned into a burden on society . A parallel society has been created which can best be described as parasitic. Best would be( to begin with) to abolish certain benefits alltogether so that potential newcomers to the state funded trough are discouraged to even try to jump onto the solo mum band wagon.And as for the rest of them— that lot needs to understand that nothing is for free in this world and this inbred sense of entitlement has to be eradicated. Michael
The facts speak for themselves. Leon
Absolutely not. Fathers should be be held responsible for the welfare and education of their progeny. NO COP OUTS!! Denis
The sad on going effect of one parent families on children is the missing nurture from usually a father, the mental and physical health of the child and the so called poverty of the family. In the present day there is no excuse for unplanned pregnancy so the responsibility comes back to the father and mother. Removing the penalties for failing to follow the requirements for being paid a benefit will create an open slather. In life there is always a cause and effect. That should be learned from childhood. There is no ‘free lunch’.  Chris.
Where is the morality today. Dave
The state seems unable to recoup Child Support payments from parents, even if they DO know their identity, so why attack the mothers? In any event, it’s the kids who end up suffering when sanctions are imposed. Andy
Men should be made TO MAN UP to their responsibilities as a FATHER. Real men take responsibility for their actions. It is an immoral system that forces tax payers to be responsible for the results of so called men’s sexual impropriety.  Bill
father needs to be named in all situations  Russell
Responsibilty is lacking as is integrity. Lois
The father should take due responsibility for his part in bringing a new child into the world. Russell
In fact, the parent who will not name the other parent (presuming they actually know who it is) should be denied the DPB until they comply. Mary
Absolutely not! Those mothers (and Politicians) who believe they have a right to deny identification of fathers, yet also have a right to receive taxpayer money without question, are not only immoral, but thieves. Vic
WINZ already have a discretion in special circumstances and the breeders have the option to name the father or wear some cost.I object to meeting the cost of random sperm donors and indiscriminate breeding. ROB 
yes they have an obligation to comply , as they are receiving / using our monies to keep breeding , and k they keep on doing it over and over ; contraceptives are free to some and subsidized to others ; no responsibility or respect shown by many . Roy 
Sex for fun and no consequences?A child growing up not knowing their father? Hardworking taxpayers will foot the bill. Money that could be used to take care of our elderly etc. Ido
The Tooth Fairy PM hasn’t a clue about raising children. Hope her loser government collapses completely. Monica
Penalties need to be increased. No one has a gun put to their head and told to breed. They are for the most part incorrigible bludgers. charles
we are not cash cows for the people that are not doing anything to help themselves. Bill
Why should it? The Father should be made to pay towards the expenses also have a role in said child’s upbringing and also this is an easy means to get on a Welfare which costs! (Seems this is also becoming a way of life as well for many and they are teaching their own to do the same and who pays ? Great gravy train… marylin
If the father is not named, how can a child trace their ancestry and with so many “Sole “Parents having multable relationships, who knows who is related to who?. Don
Certainly. Tony
The abuse of the DPB must stop for sake of our unwanted children, parents who are too lazy to work and the future of NZ. The abusers need to be shown that it is privilege to be earned not a right to blame and abuse others.  Frank
Of course not Terry
I believe that unless the father of a child is identified, there should be no eligibility for a tax payer funded benefit. Otherwise, it just becomes a free for all where the tax payer funds, almost without question, someone’s chosen lifestyle. What a life eh? Well hang on, isn’t that what happens now? And who are the biggest offenders? New Zealand’s “native” people.  Neil
It may not be most, but a significant part of DPB pays for current partners’ drug habits. If those who profess to care about the children want to make more money available for drugs, I wonder how many of them may be profiting from the drug peddling industry? Ian
It is my belief that abortion should be free and promoted as a solution for pregnant women who have no adequate means or plans for taking responsibility for the care of a child. This would solve the problem before it even emerged. For those who already have children and have lost their spouse through misfortune, they should receive full support, but not unconditionally for ever, but certainly for a few years until they can get their lives back on track. The rest of the human junk heap that thinks other men, working and financially struggling to care for their own families, should be compelled through high taxation to also take care of the nations ferals, who in most cases perpetuate the problem that produced them in the first place. Having babies is not compulsory and there are a dozen methods of birth control for the promiscuous and morally bereft roaming the streets. Dianna
The father should be paying his share to bring up his child. Les
They are milking the system John
Absolutely NOT. Sir Michael said it all Alan
No the Father should still have to pay his share of the up bringing of the child. Why should the tax payer be left with his clumsy selfish act .  Wayne
They should pay child support. Clive
No. It should be made even harder to receive the DPB. I personally know someone who has four children to four different fathers, claims benefits, doesn’t send her son to school often, and is quite happy to remain so. There are many, too many, stories like this. Sheila
Look out folks. There is an avalanche of water melons hurtling down the hill.I have no doubt those making these decisions (including Taxcinda) are well meaning.Unfortunately they have been indoctrinated by the Gramsci system. To overthrow the established order, do it by stealth, Fill the universities with our people who will educate in the true socilist Values. The end result of this is what NZ now faces. It spells disaster for the country but strong advancement of the Gramsci System. Wake up folks. The only way we can stop this rot is by making binding referendum the law of the country. If we do this the politicians, regardless of their agendas will find the ultimate will of the people will prevail just as it does in Switzerland. Ronmac
SPB needs a complete overhaul not just tinkering Lisa
Why ? Andrew
Increase the penalty. Keith
It takes two to tango – the penalties should stay Fiona
This benifit fraud has gone on far too long Simon
Certainly not…it violates the right of the child to know both their parents. It also encouragages fathers to avoid paying for their children by being violent Martin
Rather, they should be increased. Every child deserves to have a father who is known to them. Ross
No, no no. This just means the rest of us have to pay while the father concerned shirks his responsibility. David
It is the child’s right and the fathers obligation to pay support Marg
Ultimately the lowered income for those families affects the children and they are the vulnerable ones. Which is a sad fact of life and highlights peoples lack of caring about consequences of their actions.  Laurel
Fathers should be named and made to help support their children. I’ve actually heard men say it’s not their job to raise their kids, it’s the Governments! A shocking attitude! Brenda
With exception to situations of rape where the child%u2019s Mother does not know who the Father is, all people who expect to claim financial child benefits from the State and ultimately us tax payers, must be obligated to disclose relevant information about the Mother and Father of that child. Martin
Another illconceived not thought through fix that is not required and a dangerous backward step. Robyn
It is an abominable rort. Fathers have a serious obligation to provide for their children and the state has a serious obligation to ensure that fathers comply. Ken
It called living with the consequences Murray
Typical no hoping Greens always wanting somerthing for nothing Mike
For too long living on welfare benefits has been a lifestyle choice. Many recent migrants, particularly refugees must wonder how such a policy came to be. Before social welfare became prolific no one leaving school thought of living without working. and people had to go where the work was to available. Paul
The arguments for abolishing the penalties are far more “flimsy” than for retaining them. Statistics for intergenerational benefits and the disastrous effects on children brought up by only one parent should be enough reason to retain the status quo. In the past couple of weeks a 7- and a 14-year-old have committed suicide – how much more of this do we want? Don’t abolish the penalties! If the government does this it is putting children at risk, and letting the parents off the hook.  Laurence
No name, No gain. Simple. If you wish to rip the system off you should and will suffer. Benjamin
No care and no responsibility seems to be the cry from the green left – what balderdash. Why should the taxpayer be responsible for funding the care of children that their birth parents are not facing yup to? Unrestricted and increased benefit does not bode well for future generations and lacks the incentive to become a responsible citizen intent on contributing to society rather than draining it! Michael
Only increases the ease with which the system is ripped off. Colin
Despite our generous welfare payments, many beneficiaries feel only resentment that it isn’t more. They don’t realise that if you want a better life, you have to work for it, and stop spending their days taking drink and drugs, which in turn makes them dreadful parents. Abandoning this small way of trying to identify irresponsible serial fathers only makes it easier for them to get away with taking the urine out of the rest of us. E
Of course not. Some mothers use it as money making business. Dennis
If both parent names are not provided, with today’s exceptional circumstances remaining in force, the benefit should be absolutely refused.  Alan
We should be looking towards more accountability for our actions – having a child is BIG – and should be up to the mother and father to provide – not expect tax-payers to. Sad for the children with only a mother to look out for them – Fathers are equally important – don’t make it easier for them to abscond their responsibilities. Patricia
Children need their fathers in their lives and have a right to know who he is. Would need to be more punitive by increasing the gap between those who name and those who don’t. Di
This is the most scurrilous of political vote-seeking intentions I’ve ever heard of. If the father of a child whose mother seeks to receive a benefit is not held to be liable for the conceiving of that child, where indeed do we apportion responsibility? Jim
People should be responsible for their actions. Richard
The tougher the better and stop them beggering off to Australia as well. Tim
Every child has the right to know their parents. Jill
You’ve said it all Marie
Fathers should be made to take responsibility for their actions. Roger
Dad needs to pay for his fun., and accept responsibility for his child(ren). Fred
All children have a father. That father has a responsibility to their child. That responsibility includes contributing to the State taht is funding of the child. By not having to name the father who makes a contribution to assist what the State is paying to the mother, it means she would most likely be better off than a normal father/mother household. That defies logic and the future good of the “family” situation  Keith
The tougher the better and stop them beggering off to Australia as well. Tim
The penalties should be greater. They should also be drug tested. Dayal
Why would one want to support another rort in our welfare system. Ron
After all it is the taxpayer who pays the price and they are entitled to know that every effort is made to make fathers honour their responsibilities Carolyn
Of course not!! Bruce
If the father is not identified why should the nation pay? Abolishing this is license to free breeding.  Peter
Ever heard of artificial insemination ? this could be used to exploit the DPB !! Only Children conceived naturally, and have both parents should be eligible for DPB payments. This will assist to eliminate possible DPB fraud !  Pierre
NO. To remove the penalties will obviously increase the number of children the state is supporting. Anyone on a benefit who has another child should not get a benefit increase but should lose their existing benefit. John
Benefits are a privilege and with that comes responsibility to name the father so that they can be held to account. Discouraging deliberate sole motherhood must be a priority.  Willy
Naming the fathers should result in funds becoming available for a) the sole parent to better provide for the child. b) put money back into consolidated revenue for better health care, social and medical especially for the rural population who seem to be missing out more overall and improving educational outcomes more generally.  Philip
As the traditional family, & traditional family values, have been broken down by successive governments, it has been interesting watching a parallel increase in crime including violence as personal responsibility disappears. This ‘government’ is determined to implement the next step, TOTAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL..  A.G.R.
For the reasons set out in your article. Roy
If the penalties are removed the social problems will only become worse, as will the national coffers. We can ill afford either.  John
This current government is becoming more and more scary. I agree with both Lindsay and Sir Michael. Erin
If that happens the children will suffer Edward
How about not DPB at all if father not named? Tom
Here we go again. Labour with no clues. Just dish out the money. National will fix it next time. Graeme 
If the mother doesn’t name the father of the child then she deserves to be penalised.  Jon
Welfare must be reserved for only those in real need and the payments directed only to the child’s need, NOT a lump payment to the parents. ALL children must be free to know both parents names. The state must not legislate to allow either parent to hide. Graeme
Investigation into the circumstances of parenthood should remain connected to application for a DPB. Fathers have to be made responsible for casual or otherwise liaisons or affairs. William
A solo parent who does not name the father should receive no benefit untill the father is named unless there are confirmed reasons why. Also make the parents of the mother to be accountable. Ken
Penalties should actually be substantially increased and DNA testing required as prerequisite for a benefit if the father is truly not known. Richard
Just the sort of anti common sense one expects from these marxist losers masquerading as politicians. They are so out of touch with reality, they like most politicians, have become traitors to this country. Derejk
Where the Hell does responsibility start and finish ????  Tom
Other Fathers pay by being in the Family so should not the father outside the family also PAY. Ken
Absolutely not!!! If not named no benefit should be allocated. The responsibility of pregnancy is a partnership Sharon
Children are at greatest risk being raised in the households of irresponsible parents. What values do they receive? .  Bryan
Of Course not they are still responsible for the child. Ian
Why should tax payers pay to raise someone elses child just because the mother WONT do the right thing. Cindy
Benefit should not be available unless both parents are named. Graham
It’s a well documented strategy of the left to destroy families so they can exert more influence. Geoff
Too many Labour & Green females live their lives on facebook & other social sites & have lost touch with reality. Steve
Both parents should be supporting and raising all children. Mark
The views of Sir Hardie Boys should be published widely before any changes to the sanctions are considered. Jim 
Whilst some progress has been made in helping separated fathers to be involved in the lives of their children there are still huge resources available to single mothers to keep fathers from being involved if they don’t want them. Ken
If only we could prevent people living in de facto relaionships. That is where domestic problms start. Maurice
I’m voting YES BUT..only for further Children after the first child, my reason, being some Women seem to make a career of Child bearing and anyone can make a ‘mistake’ but mistakes should educate a person to make better choices. Hazel
Fathers should be accountable.  Richard
The penalties should be increased not reduced Neville
Bring back Dame Margaret Bazly to sort out this mess…. Peter
Often doing this will a violent and abusive ‘father’ the right to lay claim to the child. Many women do not disclose the father for theirs and their babies protection. Michelle
Beware of what the liberal left want ! Everything including the power of the law to benefit them – including if possible only them – everything for nothing! This Government now wants to reduce prison inmates – and direct Judges to follow this policy. Just look at the shambolic social and legal structure in the USA Sanctuary Cities run by the self serving liberal left. I see this Government heading down that same lawless path.  Stuart
I brought up 4 children by myself, not by choice, they are all successful adults, 1 a teacher, the youngest at university. NOT ALL DPB children end up drones on society. Hayley
Definitely not – this would only increase the number of beneficiaries bludging on the system!! Janet
Both parents should have the responsibility of raising their child. Benefits make it too easy for women to keep having children just to get more money. If the father is named and has to contribute it may curb some births. Raising the benefit will not help relieve child poverty it will add to it.. Ruth
absolutely. Norm
Why should the taxpayers of New Zealand be paying for the upbringing of a child when the father makes no contribution whatsoever to their own child’s upbringing.  Derrick
No, the penalties should not be abolished. We are in for more socialist “reform” from a pseudo communist government. I am embarrassed at what so many short sighted New Zealanders have elected Peter
Not naming a parent is simply an evasion of responsibility Robbie
no name no benefit at all later on in life the child may have a medical problem that could be linked to the mum or dad Bruce
We need to address this rort and discourage single parenting no matter which way. Doug
The lack of parential guidance is obvious by children in the show of iresponsibility by self discipline and lack of guidance by solo or same sex reltionships. Ian
We want to be a society which helps the less fortunate when they need help, but we do not want people who plunder society by flouting the rules necessary for fair behaviour. Society must have rules to regulate its conduct and they must be enforced for the common good. Harvey
In future years you could have half brothers and sisters in relationships. Also why should everybody pay these women extra when they are possibly receiving money from the fathers. Lynn
Without clear rules and boundaries no society will prosper. The latest mutation of the Labour party shows a level of common sense and reality so far removed from the real world, that one can only shake ones head in disbelief James
Make them harder. Why should the taxpayer support anyone who has a child and reuses to make the other half pay their dues. No name NO support at all. Carl
If women refuse to name the father without a reasonable excuse there should be no benefit at all, and as for those with 5 or more kids, well they should be sterilized and thrown in prison. I’m sick to death of my hard earned tax dollar being wasted on maori and bludgers. Stevo
Ardern and her cronies are only furthering their Marxist agenda of destroying the nuclear family and implementing their “collectivism” (the new name for COMMUNISM). as much as I hate to say it …. the Marxists/ Deep State are very, very smart and, unfortunately, are winning. We are seeing the beginning of the end of democracy and we can thank that low-life snake Winston Peters for providing the red carpet that will destroy NZ. Ardern, in Winston Peters’ own words, really is just “lipstick on a pig” … “lipstick” being Ardern and the “pig” being COMMUNISM. God help NZ. Steve
Very definite no – penalty should be increased Kevin
To use childrens parentage as a method of rorting the welfare system should not be encouraged. Owen
Another big big NO, if these mothers can not name the fathers then no hanouts for all imaculate conceptors. James
You have the fun, you pay the sum. NOT the taxpayer. Vernon
TWO parents from start, for ever RICHard
Just another nanny state socialist rort to give working people’s taxes to those who chose not to work.As pre bale once said,give something away and the que gets longer.Solar parent wellfare is a business. Morrie
Where is future society heading when the father of a child is hidden – for any reason? Paul
Definitely not. Peter 
The penalty should also be extended to more than one child produced without naming the father and after two such children the allowance should be abolished altogether and never given back even if the farther(‘s) are named later on., the governments job is to look after the country not some sloppy/careless men and women. Richard
Should be increased  Richard
KNOWN father should be named Grace
It is an out and out disgrace to the family ,child and country that this farcical situation barises from from what started as a very intimate affair between man and woman, escpecially by consent. Colin
They appear unfair David
He should have to pay and not the tax-payer Tony
Society imploding – instead pay say $30k for people of child producing age to be sterilised. As a homeless person costs $62k a year this would be a great investment. Chris
Yes. This country is stuffed because people do not take responsibility for their actions. Drugs, Crime, prison and poverty is always someone else’s fault. Bruce
No, they should be increased with harsher penalties for all those who abuse the system. We now have “The benefit fraud party (The Greens )” in power with Labour/NZ First. A party that totally supported their thieving leader , apart from only two honest people in their party, that would not stand by and condon benefit fraud. What a bunch of sick minded people! We now have a country that panders to thieving Maoris AND thieving, benefit fraudsters … This country is sooo screwed up and is on a fast down hill slide. Until we have a real government that has the balls to introduce REAL laws that are fully policed, and real penalties that make all lowlifes (which is what fraudsters are) pay for their crimes, its going to get so much worse. Their are women who make benefit fraud a lifetime occupation … Sterilize them!  Des
Welfare dependency is economic slavery, because it robs beneficiaries of their autonomy. It does this is two ways: firstly, it takes away incentive to better oneself through effort and the exercise of personal responsibility; that is, it inclines beneficiaries to become apathetic. Secondly, it makes them progressively more dependent on the state (via taxpayers’ money), and so they will vote for whoever gives them the greatest largess. This is how socialism works, and Labour politicians know this: they will continue to give handouts (without strings attached) to the vulnerable, thus increasing their own political power at the top of the social pyramid. It’s so blindingly obvious, yet so few people can see it for what it is.  Graham
There is no argument to support not naming the fathers who may very well be fathers to multiple children of different mothers Rob
The penalties should be put on the parents and on the father . No father no money  Mike
The penalty should be better managed – as it stands it paves the way for not naming a father to become the norm as long as the father pays the mother more than the penalty value.  Liz
Children have a right to know their fathers. Chris
Absolutely not! The solo parent benefit has become a career option for losers who would rather sit on their backsides than work. There needs to be serious tightening up of the system – not loosening. But unfortunately it’s not going to happen under our current bunch of socialist lefties in power. Winston Peters will go down in history as one of our most divisive politicians ever. Rex
…it takes “2 to tango” in this world…otherwise a bunch of thieving low-life will inherit New Zealand…!!! ChrisH
The penalties should be increased; no naming no benefit. DNA testing? Idiot niaive govt completely out of touch with evidence based strategies, chasing bribery votes again. Zoran
Yes. All of our benefits – including parliamentarians salaries – are funded from income tax. This means naming the parent is only a means to tax that parent for their children. A “child tax” ? You soggy-brained, overpaid imbeciles in government seem to think this is fine and dandy as long as you continue to get overpaid with all your perks. Pull your heads out of your arses and look around. The people some of you were elected to represent are not happy with your expensive, but worthless contribution to the wealth of New Zealand. About time you cleaned up your mess, don’t you think? Mark
I believe the Labour Gov’t will pay a extra $60 a week for a newborns first year on this planet. To me that means some P addicted mother is going to get a extra hit and we will be left with this drug addicted kid til he/she dies, which means the taxpayer will be paying millions ouit for the length of the kids life. Now this left wing clown from the greens thinks it’s a privacy matter who fathered the kid. In three years we can do what the Ray Stevens song says and thats “throw the bums out” Sam
Whatever the penalties are they should remain as the father should be responsable for the financial upbringing of that child. Graeme
With the unrestricted availability of effective contraception today (including the morning after pill) there shouldn’t apart from a rare accident be any unintended pregnancies. The consequences of careless sexual activity should be borne by the participants. Alan
If the father cannot be named the DNA profile both the child and mother. The court should be able to dna profile a male who is nominated as the father if they do not accept claimed parentage. Proven not to be the father evidence can/should be destroyed kelvin
Why should the rest of us have to pay for them? Simon
If your’e the father you should help with the upkeep of any child  Richard
Abso-BLOODY-lutely NOT. Why should the state have to pick up the tab for some random sperm donor who doesn’t take any responsibility for his actions in siring a child!!! Tony
They are parasites living of the tax payer and with todays birth control there is no need to get pregnant Colin
Both parents need to face up to their responsibilities! Hugh
The responsibility of continuing support inherent in breeding should not be passed to the State and for the reasons of being part of the offsprings upbringing – if you pay you inevitably have an interest in the outcome which is clearly an advantage to the socialization of the begat. Dick
A resounding NO! Why cant the powers that be see what they are perpetuating in our society under the misguided belief that this is a mother’s right to conceal the identity of the father(s) of her children. Walnetta
Keep the penalties. Under this government there is going to be more and more problems for this country Mike 
This is a difficult one as penalizing the parents means penalizing the children and if the mother cannot or will not name the father I don’t really know how we as a society can get round this. Beryl
For goodness sake – do politicians have no common sense at all? Fathers should be required to contribute for the upbringing of the children and mothers must be compelled to pay. This penalty should NOT be abolished otherwise no-one will bother paying. Alice
Welfare is a soft touch. Labour is going to make it much worse. the penalties should stay,  Paul
The welfare department should be investigating the rorts. It’s ridiculous that so many women are not naming the fathers – cash deals are rife.  Simon 
No sanctions should be removed. If Jacinda Ardern wants to reduce child poverty she should focus on getting sole mothers into work. It is the ONLY answer. Michael
Keep the sanctions but beef up investigations to bring about more compliance with the law. Graham