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Immigrant Holidays At Taxpayers’ Expense

18 September 2003

Immigrant Holidays At Taxpayers’ Expense

New Zealand First has asked the Government to explain why a Thai couple are getting a holiday to Thailand and free adult education as beneficiaries of New Zealand taxpayers.

Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said the couple and their child resided in Christchurch until recently.

“The husband, a beneficiary, is enrolled in a full time adult education programme at a local college and it is free of charge to New Zealand resident beneficiaries.

“The man is receiving a student allowance, which is very hard to get for most students, for attending and meeting the requirements of this course.

“He, his wife and child departed for Thailand from Christchurch on 6 July 2003.

“Since his departure the man has received no less than 11 student allowance payments from Studylink (WINZ) totalling $1,423.81.

“It seems this number is set to increase weekly as the Immigration Service has not notified MSD of this person’s absence from New Zealand. It is hard to understand how he can be meeting his course requirements in Thailand.”

Mr Peters said that he had documentation showing withdrawals from Thai ATM machines exchanging the man’s student allowance to Thai Baht and also documents showing return flights back to New Zealand for 3 January 2004.

“His wife is also a beneficiary and it is important to know if she is still receiving her benefit whilst in Thailand.

“This is an extraordinary situation and the Immigration Minister must put an end to it instead of sitting on her hands in a vague state of denial,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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