National's relationship fraud | The Jackal

7 Jul 2014

National's relationship fraud

In the lead-up to the 2014 September election political parties of all persuasions are attempting to entice voters with their "winning" personalities and a number of policy platforms.

Some of these are new ideas, like Labour's school donations policy which is sure to please parents, but many are old and somewhat outdated, like getting tough on crime and beneficiary bashing.

One such policy came into effect today, with National MP Chester Borrows announcing:

From today the amendments in the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Act 2014 come into force, creating a new offence for partners who are involved in relationship welfare fraud.

“’Relationship’ welfare fraud is different from most fraud in that it can by definition only be committed by two people, but we’ve only ever had the ability to hold one, the beneficiary, to account,” says Mr Borrows.

“From today that changes.”

“We know that the vast majority of Sole Parent Support beneficiaries successfully manage the change in their eligibility, but a small minority choose to take money they are no longer entitled to. Now we will be able to hold both parties to this offending to account.”

This has got to be one of the dumbest law changes ever. Not only does this law try to hold somebody to account for a crime they might know nothing about, which is unconstitutional to say the least, it also looks to punish people who will likely be financially struggling in the first place.

That's not to say their dishonesty is acceptable, but in comparison to the actual amount of fraud that occurs in New Zealand, welfare fraud is a rather trivial matter.

According to Chester Burrows there was around $18 million in overpayments last year for "relationship fraud", which is a drop in the bucket compared to white-collar crime. The best estimates of the Treasury put the cost of white and blue-collar crime at $9.1 billion per year just to maintain the justice system.

Considering the amount of money these rich bastards are stealing you would think that the courts wouldn't be so lenient. You would also think that in terms of the amount of money to be recovered the government's focus would be better spent on white-collar crime.

There is also tax evasion which the Tax Justice Network estimates cost New Zealand more than $7.4 billion in 2011. However you don't see any real impetus from the government to get tough on that type of crime.

Collin Craig also recently announced their tougher sentences for criminals blather, along with a number of advertisements claiming they weren't crazy.

National getting into bed with the crazy Conservative's is what I would call a real relationship fraud...a fraud they're trying to perpetrate on all of New Zealand.

Image Credit: @nintendoug