$1b tag put on marriage break-ups

NZ Herald Monday Oct 20, 2008

Marriage breakdown could be costing taxpayers $1 billion a year. A new study by the Institute of Economic Research for the Family First lobby group says taxpayers end up footing the bill for broken families through welfare benefits, family tax credits and higher costs for healthcare, housing and law and order. Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the study showed the need for policies to help couples to stay together.

“This report comes out during an election period when the issue of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is barely registering a mention,” he said. “I’d just like to hear the word ‘marriage’ in the policies of either of the main parties – being ready to admit that it’s the best environment in which to bring up children.” But Auckland University economist Susan St John, a founder of the Child Poverty Action Group, said the study was “pious” and “logically inconsistent”.