Another diversionary double standard
Jacinda Ardern | Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 14:59
A supposed crack down on benefit fraud is nothing more than a cynical move to take the heat off the government, and is seriously flawed said Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Today’s announcement is pure politicking. It’s a diversionary tactic to take the pressure off National’s dodgy Sky City deal.
"Quite frankly, I am sick of seeing welfare used as a whipping boy. I'm equally tired of the double standards the Government applies to fraud."
“Of course we should pursue people who abuse social security. But we should take the same approach with those who misuse the tax system - the magnitude of that fraud is significant and is just as wrong.
“The facts speak for themselves: Relationship fraud amounts to around $20 million a year. The Inland Revenue Department estimates tax ‘discrepancies’ amount to over $1.2 billion a year, while annual tax fraud is $141 million ‘at an absolute minimum’.
“Victoria University researchers have found tax evasion is up to 150 times more likely than benefit fraud.
"So why are we treating the partners of those who commit benefit fraud differently to tax fraud and white collar crime?
“Some of the planned changes could also make benefit fraud investigation less efficient by unfairly pursuing the wrong people.
“Talking tough has become a trait of this Government. It should stop playing politics and start tackling the real issues.”