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DPB Debt Into The Next Century

DPB Debt Into The Next Century

Monday 9 Feb 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today condemned the Labour Government's `easy come, easy go' attitude to taxpayer money, after new information revealed that the top five Domestic Purposes Benefit debt totals a shocking $638,401.41.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that, as of December 17 2003, the highest DPB debt had reached $289,043.68," Dr Muriel Newman said.

"Other fraudulent DPB debts stood at $167,786.73, $152,886.23, $146,422.86 and $143,279.91 - and are being repaid at only $20-$30 a week. At this rate, it will take around 277 years to repay the highest debt, and the lowest debt will not be fully repaid until around 2114 - more than 110 years into the future.

"Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey is at a complete loss about how to manage his portfolio. His weak-kneed approach to benefit fraud detection has allowed benefit fraud debt to spiral out of control - these debts have grown to the point where there is no realistic expectation that they will ever be recovered.

"Social welfare is supposed to be a hand-up but, under Labour, it has become a hand-out. Benefit fraud undermines the entire welfare system. Benefit cheats stigmatise all beneficiaries - making it difficult for those who truly require State assistance.

"By failing to crack down on benefit fraud, the Minister is not only failing the taxpayers who fund welfare, but also those beneficiaries who legitimately need help. In short, Mr Maharey is failing everyone," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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