Letter: Benefit fraudsters a phantom menace

Last updated 11:32 17/01/2014

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OPINION: You might have at least tried to question the government's beneficiary-bashing propaganda before plastering it all over your front page (January 10).

As the Ministry of Social Development's own statistics confirm, hardly any of the 180 people you say are under investigation for benefit fraud will be guilty of any such thing.

Instead, some of them may have been overpaid their benefit entitlements, usually as the result of a mistake by one party or another, including Work and Income itself, which is supposed to administer and pay benefits correctly.

The Government's true motive for engaging in these massively expensive witch-hunts against beneficiaries is to make your readers believe all beneficiaries are criminals who need to be rigorously policed and subject to surveillance and other measures that your readers would find intolerable if applied against them.

It is by setting middle New Zealand against a phantom menace, in this case criminally deranged welfare beneficiaries, that the current Government calculates it can win another term in office, so its rich friends can carry on getting richer, in part by dodging their tax obligations.

Judging by the credulous manner in which you reported the latest bulletin from the witch hunters, the government's dirty tricks look as though they will succeed.

MICHAEL GIBSON
Invercargill

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