9 Aug 2010

Petition calls for child maintenance agreement between NZ and Cook Islands

5:44 am on 9 August 2010

A Cook Islands woman has started a petition calling on the New Zealand and Cook Islands governments to enter into a reciprocal agreement over child maintenance.

Moana Rule's long-term partner left her and their five year-old daughter earlier this year to return to the Cook Islands.

The petition is now being circulated among Cook Islands communities in New Zealand and has already gathered several hundred signatures.

It's been supported by the Taokotaianga Trust, whose chairman Paitai Taringa says the problem of absentee parents failing to provide financial support for their children is a concern that community leaders have had for some time.

The absence of such an agreement between New Zealand and the Cook Islands has meant parents who leave their partners and go overseas cannot be forced to pay child maintenance.

Ms Rule says the mentality of 'abandonment' has been accepted and tolerated for far too long in Cook Island communities.