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Welfare fraud gaps not closed despite promises

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

1 September 2008

Welfare fraud gaps not closed despite promises

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says the Ministry of Social Development does not appear to have closed the gaps that allow fake birth certificates to be used to fraudulently collect wefare.

“Despite MSD’s promises in response to the $3.4 million Wayne Patterson fraud, the gaps have not been closed.”

She is referring to revelations contained in last night’s TVNZ Sunday programme, where Brooke Bartlett admitted welfare fraud worth more than $500,000 by using fake birth certificates to gain benefits.

“Back in October 2007, the department said it was already data matching birth certificates with Internal Affairs.

“However, taped telephone conversations with MSD staff played last night suggested there is no such data matching being done. This is not what the department said in October 2007 and the Minister should be asking why not?”

In March last year, Wayne Patterson pleaded guilty to 10 representative fraud charges where he invented fake identities to claim benefits that he was not entitled to.

On October 13, MSD boss Peter Hughes told Radio New Zealand his department was now matching data with birth records to stop it happening again.

“So, the department has known about this tactic since at least March and the policy is still not being implemented more than a year later.

“The Minister has some explaining to do.”


ENDS

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