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Taxpayers scammed out of $3.2m

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokewoman

5 November 2006


Taxpayers scammed out of $3.2m

National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins, is seeking an assurance that the Government will ramp up identity checks to ensure there is no repeat of a $3.2 million welfare scam.

She is commenting on media reports today alleging an Auckland man used more than 120 false identities to scam $54,000 per fortnight in welfare payments for more than two years.

“The extent of false identities alleged to have been used in this case indicates systemic failure across multiple government agencies,” says Ms Collins.

Welfare Minister David Benson-Pope has described the crime as unique.

“He may be right about the extent of the fraud but the reality is there is nothing to stop others doing the exact same thing,” says Ms Collins.

“The welfare system is based on the premise that everyone will be honest about who they are and what help they need. That’s a lovely idea but the lack of stringent identity checks creates a hole big enough to drive a truck load of cash through.

“As it stands, taxpayers are wide open to be ripped off like this again and again.

“People do not work hard and pay taxes to support people sitting around in plush apartments, playing the sharemarket, with gold bars lining the bath.

“The only surprising thing about this story is that it’s never happened before – or at least no one’s ever been caught.

“I look forward to Mr Benson-Pope fronting up to Parliament next week and explaining what he will do to ensure this kind of abuse never happens again,” says Ms Collins.


Ends

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