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Spouses targeted in welfare fraud crackdown

Wednesday 20 Feb 2013 12:36 p.m.

Chester Borrows wants to stop beneficaries

Chester Borrows wants to stop beneficaries "ripping off" taxpayers

The Government has unveiled more plans to crack down on fraudulent beneficiaries. 

Among the plans to stop people "ripping off" the system and costing taxpayers millions, are measures to prosecute partners of beneficiary fraudsters who have benefited from the offending.

They also include putting beneficiaries who have previously been dishonest about their circumstances on a watch list to stop recidivous dishonesty. 

Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says the news measures targeting ‘relationship offending’ will affect a “small minority” who cost the system around $20 million every year.

“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,” he says.

Those who have not been upfront with the ministry about their circumstances will have their freedoms restricted, including greater verification of information and less access to self-service counters.

“It is a sensible step to make sure that those who have ripped us off once cannot do it again,” says Mr Borrows.

Information sharing between the ministry and ACC, Inland Revenue, Housing New Zealand Corporation and New Zealand Police will also be formalised soon.

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