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


Labour’s Lax Approach To Benefit Fraud Investigations

By allowing 70 per cent of benefit fraud investigations to be delayed and a critical fraud detection tool to cease to operate for more than a year, Labour has left our welfare system vulnerable to exploitation, National’s Social Development and Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“Billions of dollars was paid out to support many genuinely in need New Zealanders during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was the right thing to do, but we expected the Government to continue to make sure taxpayer money wasn’t been wasted on those committing benefit fraud.”

Normally the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) matches hundreds of thousands of files from Inland Revenue against its own records to detect irregularities that might indicate fraudulent behaviour.

But MSD stopped matching these files for more than a year, the only time in the past 10 years this process has been suspended, while billions of dollars was being paid out.

“While the sheer size of the wage subsidy required resources to be redeployed at MSD, we expected the Government to have properly resourced MSD to make sure one of its sophisticated fraud detection tools could’ve continued, or at the very least restarted much sooner,” Ms Upston says.

“Most people would accept more Police would be needed to investigate crime if our population suddenly increased by 171 per cent. The same principle applies here.

“We’ve already seen Labour’s relaxed approach to prosecuting fraud. By removing this critical tool to detect fraud it has given those cheating the system a free pass to take advantage of the circumstances Covid-19 caused.

“MSD investigators are still splitting their efforts between investigating the wage subsidy and investigating benefit fraud, meaning neither the wage subsidy nor benefit fraud are being rigorously investigated.

“We expect the Government should be detecting and prosecuting those who claim hard working taxpayer money that they are not entitled to. This is a basic step to safeguard the integrity of our welfare system.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Geo-political Posturing Over China’s Cyber Hacks, Plus The Weekly Playlist

The timing was one of the weirder aspects of this week’s cyber condemnation of China by the West. Why was this piece of political theatre being staged now? China (and Russia’s) sponsoring and/or condoning of semi-state and criminal hacker groups has been known about for nigh on a decade. More particularly, Microsoft had been alerted to the flaws in its Microsoft Exchange... More>>


Government: Quarantine Free Travel With Australia Suspended

Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today... More>>


Government: New Zealand Condemns Malicious Cyber Activity By Chinese State-sponsored Actors

New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious activity... More>>


Government: Commits $600,000 To Flood Recovery

The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort... More>>


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>

Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>




InfoPages News Channels