9 Aug 2010

Call for Cook Islands/New Zealand link on child maintenance payments

2:01 pm 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 partner left her and their five year-old daughter earlier this year to return to the Cook Islands, and she says her household's been struggling without his financial support.

Ms Rule says it's an issue that's been going on for some time within the Cook Islands community in New Zealand, and absentee parents need to be made accountable.

"We find that Cook Islanders who leave their families behind in New Zealand and go to the Cook Islands are not financially obligated to help their families, and vice versa. So we would like an agreement between the two countries to help curb this type of behaviour."

Moana Rule says a petition's being circulated among Cook Islands communities in New Zealand, and will be taken to the Cook Islands to drum up further support.

She says about five-hundred people have signed the petition, and hopes to have several thousand signatures when it's presented at New Zealand Parliament.