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Overseas benefit fraudsters owe taxpayers $53m

Overseas benefit fraudsters owe taxpayers $53m

ACT Deputy Leader and Welfare spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded answers from the Social Development and Employment Minister after new information revealed 18,675 former beneficiaries have moved overseas owing taxpayers $53 million.

Figures released to Dr Newman by the Labour Government show 14,657 former beneficiaries have moved overseas in the last five years owing $40 million.

The biggest debt owed by debtor living overseas is $121,008.

414 debtors owed more than $20,000 each.

“Steve Maharey must explain why under his watch benefit debt owed by people moving overseas is so huge.

“It confirms Labour’s soft-on-benefit fraud attitude. These people know they can abuse the welfare system and get away with it by leaving the country. They know the Labour Government won’t do anything to get the money back.

“Steve Maharey owes hardworking New Zealanders an explanation for this devil-may-care attitude towards taxpayers money.

“ACT’s plan is a zero tolerance approach to benefit fraud and a penalty system that ensures benefit crime, which undermines the entire benefit system, is treated with the seriousness it deserves,” Dr Newman said.

*Parliamentary Questions 5319, 6660 and 6661


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