Moratorium on attachment orders

August 4, 2023

We are proud to be in a group of NGOs seeking a moratorium on attachment orders against all benefits, a practice that affects 20,000 people at a total cost of $29 million a year. 

On Tuesday 25th of July a collection of community advocates sent a joint letter to Government Ministers Hon Ginny Andersen, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Hon Rino Tirikatene, Hon Jan Tinetti and Hon Kelvin Davis calling for an immediate moratorium on attachment orders against all social security benefits.

How attachment orders work

A creditor can apply to the courts for an order if an individual has not paid a debt. If granted, the debtor’s employer, or Ministry of Social Development, are required to deduct an amount from their income on a weekly basis.

The system works in a way that makes it easier to get an attachment order against a benefit than a wage. Currently, 80% of all orders are collected from beneficiaries and they bear the brunt of this punitive practice.

The use of attachment orders to collect debt from beneficiaries is a cause of significant financial harm to the affected individuals and their families, as well as to New Zealand society.

We are calling for the introduction of a judgement proof debtor policy, similar to that used in the Australian State of Victoria.