Benefits cut over outstanding arrest warrants

Last updated 12:16 05/09/2012
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Benefits will be cut to people with outstanding arrest warrants, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.

The move was signalled during the election campaign and confirmed today.

Of the 15,000 people with current arrest warrants, 8200 are on a benefit.

Most people clear their warrants within 28 days.

Under the new rules people will have a further 10 days to clear or challenge an arrest warrants before their benefit is stopped.

Payments to beneficiaries with children will be cut by 50 per cent after that time.

"Most people clear their warrants within a month so 38 days is a reasonable amount of time to step forward and straighten things out," Bennett said.

She said it was about people doing the right thing and coming forward to authorities.

"Once someone has come forward their benefit can be reinstated but there will be some clear consequences for people who continually refuse to acknowledge or resolve arrest warrants."

People will still be able to apply for hardship assistance and in exceptional circumstances, where someone posses a risk to the public, police can request that their benefit be cut immediately.

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