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Prosecuting Partners of Benefit Fraudsters


21 February 2013

Media Release: Prosecuting Partners of Benefit Fraudsters

This proposed legislation reaches a new low in the financial exploitation of men and also represents a giant backward step for women to a past patriarchal era in which men were held legally responsible for their spouses’ behaviour.

A Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) fraudster commits an offence by signing a legal document affirming (s)he is not in a marriage-type relationship. The partner committed no offence but Chester Burrows wants to make the partner pay for the beneficiary’s offending even if that partner in no way encouraged it. Burrows’ law will only apply to the partners of DPB and ‘Sole Parent Support’ fraudsters not to other types of benefit fraud, and his public statements have made it clear this distinction is based on the gender of the beneficiaries concerned. The intention of the law is to make men pay for female offending.

There is no comparable legislation to prosecute and seize assets from female partners of male burglars, robbers, receivers, drug dealers or white collar criminals even though those female partners benefited financially from that offending. Most female partners of male criminals know the dishonest source of the money their partners bring home. Unless those women did something illegal that supported or contributed to the offending, it would be totally unacceptable to New Zealand voters for a law to hold them responsible for their male partners’ offending or to make women pay half the reparation for their partners’ behaviour. However, Burrows believes that society won’t mind men being treated with the same unfairness.

The Ministry of Men’s Affairs is a community group because successive governments have failed to protect the welfare and interests of men.


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