INDEPENDENT NEWS

Are Beneficiaries Above The Law?

Published: Wed 11 Feb 2004 10:08 AM
Are Beneficiaries Above The Law?
New information on Labour's benefit debt write-offs highlights the Government's soft-on-welfare approach, and willingness to allow benefit fraudsters to break the law with impunity, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.
"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, from 2000-2003, the Labour Government wrote off $32,950,634 in benefit debt," Dr Newman said.
"Labour has decided that this money is unrecoverable and given up trying to get it repaid. This reeks of double standard: minimal penalties for beneficiaries who commit fraud, compared with IRD's harsh and punitive approach toward taxpayers who have not paid enough -and who are virtually pursued to the grave.
"If benefit cheats were business fraudsters, they would surely be sent to jail. Instead large amounts of benefit debt are written off as a loss - and what is not written off is repaid at pittance of the total fraud.
"Benefit fraud in New Zealand is alive and kicking. Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey's soft-on-benefit-fraud attitude has ensured that - for some beneficiaries - crime does pay.
"What is needed is a zero tolerance approach to benefit fraud, and a penalty system that ensures that benefit crime - which undermines the integrity of the entire benefit system - is treated with the seriousness it deserves," Dr Newman said.

Next in New Zealand politics

Justice not served in Australia extradition cases muddle
By: RNZ
Syphilis deaths highlight need for proper resourcing
By: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
Youth message on Zero Carbon Act: 'Don't mess this up'
By: RNZ
Govt axes highly anticipated mental health pilot
By: New Zealand National Party
Gordon Campbell on the nurses strike
By: Gordon Campbell
Health Minister at the crossroads
By: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
ACC medical advisors on strike today
By: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
More support needed for breastfeeding senior doctors
By: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists
PSA supports striking ASMS members at ACC
By: Public Service Association
NZNO & DHB Negotiations
By: District Health Boards
Carbon neutral goal reliant on electric cars - Govt
By: RNZ
Net zero emission targets should be legislated now
By: Ora Taiao
Walking the same path on climate change adaptation strategy
By: LGNZ
Ministers & National put their cases: EDS 2018 Conference
By: Environmental Defence Society
Study has implications for biodiversity/climate change polic
By: NZ Energy and Environment Business Week
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media