Partners of fraudulent beneficiaries targeted

Last updated 12:43 20/02/2013

Relevant offers

Politics

US scrapping TPP bad for NZ - English Sugar content too high in nearly half the drinks Kiwis kids can buy, study finds American ex-pats show their colours as hundreds protest Donald Trump's inauguration in Wellington Sam Sachdeva: Greens take the lead as parties prepare candidates for 2017 election David Slack: No need to go overboard Selling scratchies online would increase gambling harm - Ministry of Health What did Donald say to Melania during that Waltz? GCSB Intercepts heard every word Ready or not, it's election year and the annual theatrics have started Angela Roberts looks back on ups, downs and almosts of four years at helm of PPTA Is politics the next move for outgoing PPTA president Angela Roberts?

Spouses or partners of fraudster beneficiaries will be snared under new legislation designed to crack down on welfare fraud.

Announcing the measure today, Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows said there would be a new offence created targeting partners or spouses of beneficiaries who are convicted of fraud.

It meant both parties would be charged, not just the person wrongly collecting the benefit.

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

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

The new offence of relationship fraud would hold people to account for any debt incurred by their partners while fraudulently claiming a benefit.

Partners could face a fine of up to $5000 or 12 months in jail and MSD would be able to seize assets owned or jointly owned by a spouse or partner under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act to help pay off the debt.

About 700 cases a year were expected.

The Government was also introducing new measures to verify information provided by beneficiaries who had previously been dishonest with the Ministry of social Development.

The new measures would include limiting their access to self-service transactions.

A third initiative would see data sharing between ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand, the New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Social Development.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content