Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


New law holds partners complicit in welfare fraud to account

Hon Chester Borrows

Associate Minister for Social Development

17 April 2014 Media Statement
New law will hold partners complicit in welfare fraud to account

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has welcomed the passage of a Bill to hold partners complicit in welfare fraud to account, 102 votes to 17.

The Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill changes the Social Security Act 1964, making spouses and partners of beneficiaries, as well as beneficiaries, accountable for welfare fraud or dishonest overpayments.

“We know the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are honest, and successfully navigate the rules, but those who don’t cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars each year,” says Mr Borrows.

“In the vast majority of cases where the fraud is failing to declare a relationship while receiving a single-person’s benefit, only the beneficiary was taking the blame and shouldering the debt, which can be tens of thousands of dollars.”

“That wasn’t fair. Relationship welfare fraud can only occur when two people chose – by their actions or inactions – to be involved in a fraudulent situation.

“We’ve now made it fair. Spouses and partners will be jointly responsible for the debt if they knew about the fraud, or turned a blind eye to fraud occurring in their own home,” says Mr Borrows.

The changes also ensure that the Ministry of Social Development continues to recover debt effectively while enabling it to exercise sensible discretion in managing recovery in individual cases.

The passing of the Bill is the latest in a package of reforms designed to combat welfare fraud.

“Welfare assistance is a major form of public expenditure and New Zealanders expect us to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s funds. These reforms are a sensible step in ensuring that the welfare system is there for those who need it, and is not abused,” says Mr Borrows.

The Bill comes into force on 7 July 2014.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Mt Eden Prison: Serco Inquiry Extended

A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. More>>

ALSO:

Health And Safety: Late Addition Of National Security Provisions A Concern

The New Zealand Law Society has expressed its significant concerns at the last-minute addition to the Health and Safety Reform Bill of provisions for a closed material procedure for court proceedings where national security is involved. More>>

ALSO:

Rugby And Beer: World Cup Alcohol Bill Passes

ACT MP David Seymour’s Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Extended licensing hours during Rugby World Cup) Bill completed its third reading by 99 to 21... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Flag Campaign

So far, the public has treated the government’s flag campaign with something between disinterest and disdain. Most New Zealanders have instinctively seen through the marketing hype involved. More>>

Change For 2017: Local Govt To Decide On Easter Sunday Trading

The Government is to enable local communities, through councils, to decide whether retailers can open on Easter Sunday, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced. More>>

ALSO:

(And Targets Worse Than Australia's): Foresters Abandoning Emissions Trading Scheme

The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news