Catching spongers

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Burrows has announced new measures to prevent, detect and catch welfare fraud.

“We know that the vast majority of beneficiaries are honest and do the right thing, but a small minority take advantage of the welfare system. Let’s be clear – welfare fraud is a crime, committed by criminals, for their own benefit at the taxpayer’s expense, and we treat it as such without excuse,” says Mr Borrows.

“National promised to clamp down on welfare fraud, and I’m pleased to deliver on that promise today.”

The first initiative is to amend the law to create a new offence targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

Relationship offending last year cost over $20 million and makes up one third of welfare fraud prosecutions. 

“Currently there are few options available to prosecute partners who know or benefit from such offending, leaving the entire debt with one partner,” says Mr Borrows.

“Prosecuting partners who profit from welfare fraud will ensure that both parties who profit from the crime are punished, and will help the taxpayer recover the lost money faster.”

The second key initiative is to introduce new ways of working with beneficiaries who have previously been dishonest with MSD.  These new measures include greater verification of information and less access to self-service transactions, and will cover around 1000 beneficiaries each year.

“This approach will give MSD a package of tools which can be tailored to target the way an individual has been dishonest before.  It is a sensible step to make sure that those who have ripped us off once cannot do it again,” says Mr Borrows.

The third new initiative is to formalise information sharing links between ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand Corporation, New Zealand Police, and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

“Sharing information between Government agencies will allow us to detect or catch welfare fraud sooner.  Bringing these key agencies together will also help catch high value fraudsters whose deception extends across multiple agencies.

“It’s vitally important that the public has every confidence in the welfare system and these measures, alongside a range of smaller initiatives included in the package, will give MSD the tools it needs to achieve this.”

The left is spinning this a beneficiary bashing.

It’s not. It’s ensuring public money is used for the right purposes and Lindsay Mitchell points out it could also protect vulnerable women from spongers.

The culprits might be relatively small in number but the more than $20 million that is lost to this fraud is not an insignificant sum.

There are many more pressing needs for it.

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13 Responses to Catching spongers

  1. robertelee says:

    This is absolutely repulsive – these people are the poorest in the land and the upper middle class who help create their plight with their self absorbed. self indulgence and their smashing of the institution of marriage now want to drive them into further degradation.

    By nature men and women want to bond together and create children – it is in built, human nature and designed to ensure that the human race continues and doesn’t go extinct.

    So here are these sad lonely women with children who bond with another man and you want to punish that man, sentence these women to loneliness and no chance of having a fufilfilling adult relationship – charming. What lovely people you are.

    Feminism created this cesspit – now the homsexual agenda is deepening it – wallow in it

  2. Andrei says:

    Jeepers how’d my name change?

  3. homepaddock says:

    No-one is saying people shouldn’t bond. They’re just saying they shouldn’t commit fraud while doing it. There are a lot of poor working people who could do with a bit extra, would it be alright for them to commit fraud too?

  4. Andrei says:

    There is an old saying “if you want an economic activity to increase subsidize it and if you want it to decline tax it” can you see that if a household’s (single mom) income is going to decline when a man comes into it…..

    I’m am not saying I approve of benefit fraud, I don’t, nor do I approve of all the scams other groups have to feed at the taxpayers teat, other groups who have more political muscle than the poorest of the poor and so don’t get the spotlight shone upon them nor the heavy hand of the law deployed against them to keep them in line. The poor are always an easy target because they have few friends in high places, unlike troughing politicians, say

    The real point is this though, through totally misguided Government policies of the past the State has now found itself taking the financial role of the Father for about 30%, or is it more, of the nation’s children.

    The whole idea, honed through millenia, of marriage is that men and women are bonded together for life before they start having children together and that this bond once formed is (supposed) to be inviolable and sacred. In this way the vast majority of children do not become the responsibilty of anyone else but their family of origin, which is exactly has it should be and also in general leads to them developing into adults who will thrive and prosper.

    We have thrown that away and for everybody but especially the poor it is a catastrophe

    It is going to take political leaders with the wisdom of Solomon to fix this and that we don’t have – just little people who prefer to cavort at the Big Gay out seeking photo opportunities to show their modernity

  5. TraceyS says:

    Andrei, how much direct experience do you have with the people you defend?? I’ve been lucky enough to have some rare insight and this is what I see:

    Men living carefree lives in flats with their mates share costs and resources, doing well enough to live on KFC, play on the PlayStation all day, and get smashed any night of the week. When in need of some “bonding” they go to a pub or party to pick up a stray woman. Another may spend a night with his “estranged” partner who is living in a state house with six kids and collecting about a grand a week on the DPB. If she doesn’t give him what he wants she gets bashed.

    The resulting child brings new income into the “family” – if you can call it that. So she will be happy, eventually, with what she had to go through. Her youngest was about to turn six anyway and she’d otherwise have to find 15 hpw work. In a sad sort of way, these fathers are performing their traditional role as bread-winner. The only way they have to increase their family income is to make another baby. This is NOT bonding. Natural or unnatural (make up your own mind), it is absolute DESPERATION.

    In another family the parents live together and love and care for their five children well. They would work and support the family if they could. But neither has skills that will earn them a wage which is above their current benefit level AND NEVER WILL. They frequently send money to overseas relatives in a poorer country, somewhat depriving the children who are all NZ born.

    These examples don’t even involve fraud!

    They are real by the way.

  6. Andrei says:

    Yes Tracey I see the whole degraded sordid mess – it is so very depressing, I could weep.

    I would look to rid us of the DPB, that was a most horrible mistake, it was born from the widows benefit which met a genuine need.

    I reckon we need to go back to orphanages for kids whose parents can’t or wont support them

    The DPB subsidizes the catastrophe you describe and I see most days with my own eyes. Actually worse than subsidizes, it promotes it – as you note.

    I’m a great believer in raising people from the mire and a believer in the concept that the best way to do this is for the cultural leaders of our society to lead by example which they don’t. They are just as degraded as the underclasses in many cases but can paper it over with money. In some cases their trashy behaviour actually gets lauded in the media!

    You know what I’d do for the people in your last example – MARRIED couple raising children, joint income tax returns with the first $xxxxx dollars tax free with $xxxxx a not insignificant figure ie reward non pathological behaviour and not the pathological behaviour.

    Actually Ele’s post pushed several of my buttons – politicians love to demonize people and the underclasses are a good target “for taking action to ……” but to me using the courts is oppression (and hypocrisy) and I know as you probably do that this policy will fix exactly nothing, it is a sticking plaster on a gaping wound

  7. TraceyS says:

    But maybe some of the recovered money can help those who really need it. Kids I mean.

    I used to buy good second-hand clothes ($3 and $4 items) and give to school for “accidents”. It wasn’t long before they were all gone and not returned. Any parent could buy these clothes but it takes time, caring, and a sharp eye to pick out the nice ones amongst racks of rags. Money isn’t always the answer and sometimes it is in fact the problem as you well recognise. Showing that you care on an individual level; a small gift, giving a compliment, a lift into town, taking a little precious time to chat…These things help because there is no loftiness or sympathetic do-gooding involved. As soon as anyone begins telling others how to live then they’re sending the message “I’m over here” and “you’re over there” ….. “I’m privileged and you’re not”. Income differences are often justifiable, but I hate that message.

    One little girl was always nicely dressed. Too nicely for the circumstances! Yet it was a case of B/F over an extended period, with the parent/s finally going through the courts. But they were seen at school events more often after that. Maybe because they no longer had something to hide… Her wardrobe would have suffered, but she gained elsewhere. I’m glad they were caught. I’d like to see her to grow up honest.

  8. Andrei says:

    But maybe some of the recovered money can help those who really need it. Kids I mean.

    This initiative will recover diddly Tracey. All that will happen is from time to time some looser male who for whatever reason, good or bad, who has taken up with a woman who has children and who hasn’t taken financial responsubility for those childen who are not his children but some other loosers children, will find himself before s silver spooner judge earning more than this poor sap can imagine in his wildest dreams, and who has had everything handed to him or her or her on a plate since the day they were born and who will look down their snooty nose at him and make his already shit life a whole lot shittier.

    And that pompous judge will utter banalities about the wickedness of defrauding the government before going to his or her chambers to fluff out his or her expense accounts.

    And then home to nice leafy suburb where the nice folk live who with their family trusts to take care of their tax liabilities and the other fiddles the ruling classes bestow upon themselves to maximize their disposible income.

    Yeah

  9. TraceyS says:

    Maybe. But I think you’re wrong about “… mak[ing] his already shit life a whole lot shittier.” In reality it won’t be much different.

    His life is as he made it and he knows it. A silver-spooner looking down their nose will only make him laugh indifferently, if he even notices. At least he is in control of his own life. He will accept his comeuppance and be comfortable with himself and if he can get away with it again, then he will.

  10. Andrei says:

    Yes Tracey many are beyond redemption, many but not all.

    In truth the real bad buggers are adept at not getting caught.

    We will never live in the Garden of Eden though, there will always be problems but right now we are doing badly, much worse than we have acheived historically, much much worse – we are living in a time of rapid decline, There have been more murders in NZ this week than there were for the enitire year of 1962, sure the population has about doubled but how does that grab you?

    The percentage of the population that is in prison is way higher to, I’ll get the figures later.

    And people like my kids don’t feel anything for this country, they just go whereever – no patriotism, no loyalty, there is nothing to feel loyal to.

    The pollies in Wellington run this country for the people who live in Epsom and Khandallah whose fancy will be tickled by this law.

    They ride roughshod over the rest of us as they trash this nation.

    And it will be a very bad law, not one which will raise people up but one to oppress them for the sake of it.

    Trust not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation.

    His breath shall go forth, and he shall return to his earth; in that day all his thoughts shall perish.

  11. TraceyS says:

    In 1977 the death rate from homicide was 1.8 per 100,000 people. In 2011 it was 1.4.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate)

    Perhaps we should be more concerned about suicide rates (per 100,000):

    1981: 10.4
    2010: 17.7

    The differential between male and female suicides has dropped significantly. In 1981 the male rate was nearly 5 times the female rate. In 2010 it was 2 times the female rate.

    The overall trend is declining again, which is good. So I reckon some things might be going along OK :)

  12. Andrei says:

    Let’s do a little jiggle with the stats from your source Tracey
    2010 1.76 per 100,000 in 2010 but in 1976 1.1 per 100,000 that’s the first year in the series in your source which you chose not to use – throwing around numbers picked “at random” from a time series tsk tsk

    Anyway I know that there was a jump in homicide rates mid seventies if you were to graph the time series from 1950 to now there is a kink in the mid seventies as the rate jumped and it has been quite volitile since then in 2009 it was 2.2 per 100000 – too late to track the data down now

  13. TraceyS says:

    Never my intention to pick numbers “at random”, Andrei. The rate does vary from year to year quite a lot and in 1976 was very low.

    An increase from 1.1 in 1976 to 1.4 in 2011 (a difference of +0.3 over 35 years) is not reflective of “rapid decline” in society. Perhaps it could be more accurately described as a “gradual decline”.

    If you think that +0.3 change over 35 years represents a rapid decline, then you surely accept that 1.8 in 2010 to 1.4 in 2011 (a difference of nearly -0.4 over 1 year) is an extremely rapid improvement!

    Suicides are 10 times the homicide rate. Why are we not up-in-arms about the increase in this cause of death? We should be. Maybe it’s the simple fact that homicides come across our TV screens but suicides generally do not (unless they involve a murder).

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