20 May 2015

Labour: Child support overhaul mismanaged

10:21 am on 20 May 2015

The Finance Minister has been accused of poor financial management of the child support system.

Grant Robertson.

Labour's Grant Robertson is challenging the Government's spending on a costly revamp of the child support system (file). Photo: RNZ

In Parliament yesterday, Labour's finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said Bill English ignored advice to dump a costly revamp of Inland Revenue's system for dealing with child support payments.

Mr Robertson said the cost of the project blew out from $34 million to $210 million for the upgrade of the child support system.

"Is one of the reasons that he won't be delivering a surplus - or any meaningful changes on child poverty - in this Budget because he wasted hundreds of millions of dollars pursuing a project that all of his key advisors on fiscal, state sector and technology issues told him to bin?"

Mr English defended the Government's decision, saying it rejected that advice because it was important to put in place a system that worked better for families dependent on it.

"In this case, the Government decided we needed to make changes to what was a 25-year-old formula for child support, because families constitute themselves differently these days and there is a different set of expectations so we went ahead."

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