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Dave and Goliath

By Peter Walker

One thing Peter Walker could live without is overzealous Child Support collectors.

I’m intrigued by the comparisons of how things were for my dad as a separated father, and how they are for me as I find myself in the same situation.

One thing Dave didn’t have to deal with was the IRD. With no arrangements between him and my mother for “child support,” Dave didn’t have the IRD snooping in his bank accounts, probing into his personal life, and generally screwing with his head.

Nowadays, unlike Dave I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the IRD. There have been periods where, for my own sanity, I simply haven’t bothered to open any of the screeds of junk mail emanating from the IRD.

Every letter brought a different set of figures, a new amount “owing”, and more evidence that “Child Support Services”, the bastard love-child of the IRD, was, as in the words of one of it’s own agents, an “archaic and complicated beast.”

In my dealings with CSS, I have concluded that the system by which the IRD takes thousands of my hard earned dollars and flushes them down the black toilet of Calcutta is the most frustrating, enraging and demeaning out-of-control monster any political system has given birth to.

It has far reaching powers that no other person or agency has. It can, without my consent, or even my knowledge, access and take from my wages, any amount it deems necessary at any time.

No wonder derogatory books have been written about it (cf. Be Very Afraid), and no wonder this vile government behemoth has driven some people to suicide.

A few weeks ago I got a letter from CSS. Apparently, I owe them just under a thousand dollars in “arrears”. In the past I’ve been in “arrears”, usually resulting from the ineptitude of my employer, the IRD, or both.

In those cases I’ve diligently paid what they claim I owed. I assumed they must be right, and that, because I couldn’t be bothered keeping the meticulous records that are required to keep up with CSS, I could never prove otherwise.

But in this latest claim I don’t even have the vaguest idea why I still owe them a thousand dollars – plus penalties – given that in March I just finished paying off another set of “arrears” (okay, I was guilty of that one, unwittingly though).

Apparently I owe amounts (some as small as $2.32) dating back to May 2000! Yes, it’s taken them two years (during which I’ve spoken with them many times) to bring these “arrears” to my attention.

As anyone paying “child support” knows, these matters are overwhelmingly distressing and impact severely on all relationships, especially with those closest, my children and my partner.

I’m going to do something I’ve not done before. Enter into correspondence with the agency charged with the financial security of my estranged children. I want to know why they did not take the “correct” amount when they were stealing from me two years ago.

I want to know why there is zero accountability for the money they continue to suck from me. And on another level, I want them to prove to me that they atually have a mandate to carry out the function they have assumed.

With suggestions getting stronger that the NZ government is in fact constitutionally illegal (see Investigate magazine for this revealing debate), and therefore it’s bully-boys the IRD might actually be violating our rights as Colonists by “forcing” us to pay income tax, which, in leagaleez dating back to the laws of the middle ages, is only a voluntary act, surely there are some serious questions IRD and it’s flunky CSS must front up to answer.

Dave actually had it pretty good, I reckon.

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