Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


AAAP calls on WINZ to stop prying into people’s sex life


An OIA report from The Ministry of Social Development shows that, in the year to March 2017, over 11,000 calls were made to a dedicated hot line enabling people to anonymously accuse beneficiaries of benefit fraud. As a result, almost 6,000 benefit fraud investigations were made during that year, with over 3,000 regarding allegations of the beneficiary being in a ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’. Out of the investigations completed, overpayments were established in 1,800 investigations, with only 431 successful prosecutions.

"Auckland Action Against Poverty is calling for an end to these cruel and invasive investigation practices by the Ministry of Social Development”, says Ricardo Menéndez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator.

"The investigations carried out by the Ministry of Social Development have the potential to destroy people’s lives, with investigators having the ability to reach out to the beneficiary’s family members, friends and acquaintances to ask incredibly sensitive questions regarding relationships and sex life. The beneficiary is often unaware they are being investigated while the Ministry contacts these people in their life to obtain information.

“Several of these investigations would have started because vindictive ex-partners anonymously call the dedicated tip-off line to accuse the beneficiary of being in a relationship. In April this year, the story of a woman who had her benefit cut for going on two tinder dates was widely circulated, with MSD revealing her benefit was actually cut from allegations she had been living with a partner, shared a mortgage with him, and they both had jobs. None of these allegations were substantiated, yet Work and Income still decided to cut her benefit off.

“These sort of investigations are able to be carried out due to legislation which can consider two people to be in a ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ because they may be dating, sharing accommodation, or engaging in sexual activity. This is an overreach by government into the private lives of some of our most vulnerable people. This legislation is draconian and outdated.

"People considered to be in a 'relationship in the nature of marriage’ by Work and Income lose their individual benefit entitlements, as their income is calculated jointly. By doing this, Work and Income forces people on the benefit to be fully financially dependent on who they consider to be their partner.

“On top of putting an immediate end to these investigations, the best thing the Government could do is to treat adults in the benefit system as individuals without penalizing them for being in a partnership.

“It is ill-fitting for the Labour-led Government to talk about being a compassionate Government while allowing thousands of people to undergo invasive investigations by the Ministry of Social Development, with many losing their benefit because of anonymous tip-off calls.

“We are calling on the Labour-led Government to put an immediate end to these cruel investigation practices."



© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

The “Scoop 3.0” Transition Plan
There is good reason to believe that a new path and a better future is possible for Scoop in 2019 as a pioneering independent Media company. A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’.

By opening up Scoop’s structure to community ownership and exploring decentralised technology through the blockchain we can ensure the public has a stake in this enterprise and a say in its development. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Jami-Lee Ross (And The New Hobbit Law)

Clearly, Jami-Lee Ross is not waging a normal form of political warfare, with agreed rules of combat and rational cost/benefit calculations.

This is politics-as-terrorism where everything is being sacrificed by the man in the bomb vest in order to remove Simon Bridges as the leader of the National Party. More>>

Text Messages Released: National On $100,000 Donation(s)
The Botany Electorate of the National Party received 8 donations, and Mr Ross declared 8 donations to us. More>>


Film Industry Working Group:

Three Killed: DOC Supporting Family, Colleagues After Helicopter Crash

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is rallying around family and colleagues of the staff who died in a helicopter crash this morning in Wanaka... The helicopter, with two DOC staff on board, was on its way to undertake tahr control in the Haast area when it crashed. More>>


Political Donations: Greens Call For Tighter Anonymity Rules And Public Funding

“It is clear that those vested interests have a tangible influence on the decision making of political parties. This is a threat to democracy and should change.” More>>


Education Amendment Bill Passes: Urgency Sought For Partnership School Treaty Claim

The claim takes issue with the acts and omissions of the Crown in respect of the closure of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua. More>>


Salvation Army Paper: Call For Public Housing Investment

To meet these future demands the report suggests the government needs to look beyond the private rental market and begin to invest heavily into home-ownership programmes and more public and social housing. More>>


Cull: Himalayan Tahr Control Operation Proceeding

“The target of controlling 10,000 Himalayan tahr over the next eight months remains. The revised plan provides for a staged control operation with increased reporting to the Tahr Liaison Group...” More>>


Health: Petitions To Fund Breast Cancer Drugs

Women marching to Parliament today, to present two petitions calling for Government funding of vital medicines, have 100% support from a coalition representing than 30 breast cancer organisations. More>>


Animal Welfare Advisory Committee: Report On Rodeo Practices Released

The independent committee that advises the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare, has today released a report on animal welfare in rodeos, together with advice to the Minister making recommendations to improve the welfare of the animals in rodeos. More>>





InfoPages News Channels