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Information sharing continues to stop fraudsters

Hon Chester Borrows

Associate Minister for Social Development

3 December 2013       Media Statement       

Information sharing continues to stop fraudsters

More than 5300 illegitimate benefits have now been stopped by enhanced information sharing between Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) says Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows.

These benefits were costing the taxpayer at least $56 million per year.

“While the vast majority of beneficiaries do the right thing and let us know about their circumstances it is disappointing to see that some people continue to break the law and take money they’re not entitled to,” says Mr Borrows.

“I’m proud to say that we don’t shirk our responsibility to the taxpayer to stop this behaviour, and can ensure this money is there for those who really need it.”

The information sharing, which compares MSD records with Inland Revenue data to identify working age beneficiaries who have not accurately reported their income to Work and Income, started in March this year.

It enables MSD to correct the amount or type of benefit being paid, and where there is reason to believe the underreporting was deliberate, investigate for possible welfare fraud.

In addition to the 5310 cancellations, a further 2995 benefits have had their rate altered to reflected the other income that beneficiary is receiving.

“Getting back into work is always our top goal for beneficiaries, but that doesn’t mean they can continue to take money they’re no longer entitled to,” says Mr Borrows.

“Defrauding the welfare system is the same as stealing from grandma’s purse or the till at work, and those who have deliberately tried to defraud the taxpayer will be put before the court and held to account for their offending.”

ENDS

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