Turei condoning benefit fraud

I understand to an extent what Metiria is trying to do with her stand on benefit fraud. Many people on benefits really struggle financially, and that’s an issue that deserves attention. Sure she is trying to maximise votes in the upcoming election, but I believe she passionately believes she can do good for poor people.

But there are aspects of Turei’s agenda that I have real problems with, especially her condoning of benefit fraud.

Her own admission suggests more than a solo mother fibbing a bit to ‘feed her child’.

It happened over a three or five year period, which is sustained cheating.

It happened in three different flats – so when Turei got a new flat she chose to rent more rooms than she needed, with the implication that she was planning to rort the system several times.

From Stuff:  Greens co-leader Metiria Turei won’t report woman committing benefit fraud

At her party’s annual conference earlier this month Turei make a risky admission while launching a major policy to dismantle the Government’s welfare reforms, dramatically hike the benefit and remove nearly all sanctions and obligations to collect it.

Turei told party supporters she had lied about her living situation to Work and Income (WINZ) while she was collecting the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

While she’s willing to pay the money back, Turei stands by her decision to commit benefit fraud, which she says she did in order to “take care of my baby”.

It doesn’t appear that it was simply a matter of not being to be able to by enough food one week so she got in a flatmate.

On Tuesday Turei confirmed she had met with a woman while travelling in the South Island last week who told her about a flatmate with a baby “who is doing exactly what I did”.

“She’s trying very hard to be the best Mum she can be but she isn’t telling WINZ about all her flatmates and I won’t condemn her.”

“I’ve had people come and disclose to me their circumstances and I’ll never abuse that trust. What I will do is fix the system so they never have to lie again.”

Turei said she is supporting this woman in trying to be “the best mother she can be” by defrauding the state.

This sounds like condoning wider benefit fraud, but Turei wants to do more than approve, she wants the slate wiped clean presumably for all levels of benefit fraud. In Parliament yesterday:

Metiria Turei: When so many stories of people being driven into poverty and despair by the broken welfare system have emerged in this last week, will she instruct the MSD to hold an amnesty for every current beneficiary—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Oh! Now we get to it.

Metiria Turei: —for every current beneficiary, so not me, Minister—so that they can talk to Work and Income about—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Would the member complete her question. It is a very long question.

Metiria Turei:—so that they can talk to Work and Income about their full entitlement without risking investigation or financial punishment?

She is proposing an amnesty for every current beneficiary, apparently no matter what level of fraud they may have committed, and no matter how desperate or calculated the fraud was.

From Mending the Safety Net – Metiria Turei’s speech to the Green Party 2017 AGM:

No beneficiary should have to live with the threat of losing the money the need for the rent.

So, the Green Party in government will immediately remove all financial sanctions and obligations that treat beneficiaries as criminals and second-class citizens.

That includes the sexist, punitive section 70A, which cuts women’s benefits if they can’t or won’t name the father of their child.

But also, the constant demands to prove you still have a disability, piles of job application rejections, having to get budget advice over and over because your winter power bill is too high, risking half your benefit if you miss your appointment because your child is sick.

And it includes the intrusive interrogation of a sole parent trying to find a life partner.

Under this government, sole parents, mostly women, are forced to reveal the most intimate details of their lives – who she’s sleeping with and how many times a week, under the threat of losing the money her and her kids rely on to pay the rent.

In my books, that’s discrimination. It’s persecution. And it’s wrong.

Women will no longer be threatened by WINZ simply because they are trying to form a loving relationship that benefits them and their children.

A good government, a decent government, does not use the threat of poverty as a weapon against the poor.  Not now, not ever – and under a Green Government, never again!

So no problem about fraud in the past and no questions asked in the future.

Turei has just spoken with Guyon Espiner on RNZ, that interview will be worth checking out further.

Espiner asks her about standing for Parliament twice during this period (for the McGillicuddy Serious Party in 1993 and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis in 1996) but Turei says that beneficiaries should be able to have some fun.

Turei says that if benefits are generous enough fraud won’t be necessary to survive, and only serious cases will need to be dealt with.

I don’t think it is that clear cut or simple.

Turei means well, there are serious issues that deserve attention, but there are problems with what she is condoning and proposing.

52 Comments

  1. One of a kind

     /  July 26, 2017

    Duh,

    Doesn’t matter if you are on $10K or $100K if you have a bent to break the law you will.

    Pleading poverty as an excuse for law breaking is a cop out.

    Turei will be the death of the Greens if she isn’t exorcised.

    • Gezza

       /  July 26, 2017

      I imagine Roy Morgan will be the next poll out. I really want to see that. The msm’s useless as a barometer for the general public’s views.

  2. Most of my fellow soldiers rorted the system when leaving to go to Uni, undeclared cash assets under the golden hand shake Super scheme in particular. I specifically dumped my golden handshake in kiwisaver so as not to have a cash asset and claim student benny.

    Due to the low level of income its ubiquitous, its not just about feeding a kid, but about having enough income to not go begging to WINZ everytime a car needs a service, fridge needs repair etc.

    WINZ is like ACC, its mostly adversarial and a pain in the ass to deal with. Dealing with boarders it seems WINZ makes a serious difference between a flatmate and a boarder for tax and income purposes, unsure how that all works out.

    • Gezza

       /  July 26, 2017

      A car? Jeez. My bro’s hostelled nearby, & later walked to Vic when they got into crowded flats.

      • Gezza

         /  July 26, 2017

        They even flatted together for a year at one stage, when the tuakana (older bro) was doing his Master’s & the teina (younger tyke) was doing Law. The end result of that was that they’d never live in the same house again & would avoid each other for about two years, but it’s ok now, and we’re of Irish ancestry, so ya gotta expect that, & that only saint in the family would naturally be our sister.

        • Gezza

           /  July 26, 2017

          Reminds me, was reminiscing with sis at the party to celebrate the life & character of her dad-in-law after his final farewell, recently. I mentioned she was never one for remembering & telling jokes like da bros, even though mum did.

          “Aw come on G 🙄 “, she said. “What chance did I ever have, growing up with you three? 😠 “

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  July 26, 2017

            Was just commenting to the Mrs on your inherited Blarney Stone gifts, Sir Gerald. She was threatening to drive so she could listen to our banter which might be a good idea because if she starts talking she doesn’t stop. Dunno how she breathes.

            • Gezza

               /  July 26, 2017

              Good idea. Bring beer. She knows kiwi blokes only drink beer so they can legitimately talk utter bollocks to each other, doesn’t she?

  3. The woman is a criminal.
    And for a ‘trained’ lawyer obviously quite contemptuous of the law as it affects the ordinary person.
    Why is Parliament so concerned with a Parliamentarian who recorded the conversation of a belligerent and not at all concerned with a criminal act by a Parliamentarian ?

  4. Corky

     /  July 26, 2017

    I’ve said from the beginning, way before it was popular, for the sake of the Greens Earth Mother must go. I’ve also stated there must be friction between Shaw and EM, and that she will be gone post election. That maybe even sooner, as Steven Joyce in an interview said words to the effect that ” he senses a little tension between the co-leaders.”

    Of course there’s tension. Shaw is watching the Greens go down the gurgler. From their supposed honest ethical take on life, to their supposed moral high ground on issues because, well, because, they are the Greens.

    I don’t expect the polls to move too drastically for them. The killer punch will be at election time when people who may have voted for them….wont.

    • Gezza

       /  July 26, 2017

      Last sentence. Yep. That’s my bet too. Good people in this country still don’t like blatant fraud & dishonesty – from beneficiaries or financial advisers.

  5. Brown

     /  July 26, 2017

    ”Turei means well,”

    Bollocks. Shes a simpleton and a crook and what she may or may not mean is of no consequence when she is advocating more theft to match hers.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 26, 2017

      I don’t believe that she means well, either (don’t faint at my agreeing with you) but do not believe that she is a simpleton. She is a power-seeker as well as an atttention-seeker and her attitude to beneficiaries is incredibly patronising.

      She comes across as being very manipulative and wanting to put people under an obligation-Lady Bountiful c.2017. Next she’ll be talking about empowering women-as if she can-if she isn’t doing so already. People who can empower one can surely also disempower one.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 26, 2017

    No-one asked her who the father is yet then?

  7. Zedd

     /  July 26, 2017

    I listened to Metiria being interviewed on TV1.. she was asked if she condones people breaking the law; she gave the best answer possible; I’m about advocating for people who suffer under BAD laws, that need changing ! (paraphrased) rather than the condescending crap, that many are using to condemn her

    I agree, its a bit like Natz saying NO to cannabis reform & many just apathetically accepting it ‘as gospel’ (even if they do disagree).. there are at least 2 sides to every issue. Its not all about ‘what this Govt. says is always right’ ! 😦

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  July 26, 2017

      She’s a double liar then, Zedd. She doesn’t want to change the law to encourage beneficiaries to earn extra money by private enterprise as she did. She just wants to increase the amount of money they get for doing nothing and leave the law as it is.

      • Zedd

         /  July 26, 2017

        I dont get that; shes an opposition MP, employed to hold Govt. to account & attempt to improve the lives of those she advocates for. Thats all she is currently doing !

        You can spray all the ‘Tory rhetoric’ you like, but it does not mean its all correct Alan 😦

        We are all kiwis & all deserve ‘a fair go’, not just those who vote Natz/Act.. WAKE UP

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 26, 2017

          Nothing rhetorical about it. Simple facts. She improved her life by working and she thinks she can improve others lives by letting them not work.

          I’m not the one who needs to wake up.

        • Gezza

           /  July 26, 2017

          Can I just ask, Zedd, which kiwis don’t get a fair go, & why don’t they?

          • Zedd

             /  July 26, 2017

            What about; The 49.9% of Kiwis who dont vote Natz.. who this Govt. Choose to tread on & ignore; living in cars & scratching to pay for their basis needs.
            btw; not all those ‘living in poverty’ are on the dole

            “Hey guys lets give the biggest tax-cuts to the wealthiest.. that will work” (keep them in power ??)

            • alloytoo

               /  July 26, 2017

              The Wealthiest are in the minority, how is exactly is that going to keep them in power?

              Anyway you can’t give tax cuts in excess of the tax paid, and given that the “Wealthy” are paying far more than their “fair share” by any definition they will get a little more back.

          • Gezza

             /  July 26, 2017

            What about; The 49.9% of Kiwis who dont vote Natz.. who this Govt. Choose to tread on & ignore;

            The 49.9% of kiwis who *didn’t* vote National are not trodden on & ignored by this government. I didn’t. They are not perfect, but some of their decisions have benefited me, as they have many, many others who didn’t vote National, & they have not unduly harmed or taxed me.

            Contrary to the perception you either mistakenly genuinely have, or just cynically or tribally choose to project, this is not Nazi Germany, Russia, North Korea, or Zimbabwe where not voting for the government can result in your being identified & targeted for punishment.

            living in cars & scratching to pay for their basis needs

            My recollection is that when those cases were examined, all was not quite what it seemed. A few of them had been offered assistance but refused it. One young man was voluntarily doing it temporarily because it suited him. Some had circumstances that were genuinely unfortunate & did not know there was help available or where to find it. And when the scale of the problem became known (& admittedly, made public) the government & its relevant Ministers & Ministries, as well as Maori Marae, god bless them, moved quickly & in union to address it.

            The housing crisis has been a long time in the making. National has not solved it, but they are not the sole cause of it. I am not in favour of selling off state housing (one reason I won’t vote National), I think there is scope for Houding Corp to be made more effective & efficient – but I have not examined the whole situation microscopically, including looking to see what houses are being sold and why.

            btw; not all those ‘living in poverty’ are on the dole

            That is true, but by the definitions I have seen in use today I grew up in poverty, except that I didn’t see it that way or feel we were poor. If other people were looking down on us I neither noticed nor cared. We all got jobs, including mum, low-paying ones to start with, & increased our earning power thru continuous skill development & being prepared to get qualified, adapt, up-skill in the workplace, or move.

            “Hey guys lets give the biggest tax-cuts to the wealthiest.. that will work” (keep them in power ??)

            Quite happy with the idea of targeted tax cuts at the lower end. Would like to see wages higher & a higher minimum wage – but balanced against that, as always, is the need to ensure it doesn’t make it uneconomic for employers to continue in business, thus creating more job losses. Employers aren’t evil, Zedd. They are often risk takers who reap the rewards of hard work & sleepless nights, sometimes figuring out how they can go on keeping their people in work.

            I am still looking for the Party with the solutions to all those issues. So far there isn’t one. We make do with what we have.

            • Zedd

               /  July 26, 2017

              do you feel better now Gezza, getting that off your chest ? 😀

              btw; I’m not the extremist that many in here appear to think.. BUT I dont believe all the Tory B-S about ‘a Brighter future.. for ALL ?’ either

            • Gezza

               /  July 26, 2017

              Well, I wasn’t actually feeling bad, Zedd. 🙄

              I was just taking some time to put some of the things you just whinged about in a different perspective.

              When you can identify the Party with the perfect solutions to all society’s ills, I’ll be most interested to examine them in detail. But it won’t be a party led by a fraudster, cheered on by a bunch of others.

            • Zedd

               /  July 26, 2017

              touche 😀

        • Zedd. In simple language she is a THIEF

          • She may as well walked into an old lady’s house and filched tens of thousands of dollars she was saving for her hip operation.

            Thieves like this deny other well deserving people, many of whom have fallen on hard times themselves, a part of the welfare/health/education pie they’re due.

            She and her ilk are the PROBLEM not any SOLUTION.

            • Gezza

               /  July 26, 2017

              Still got that killer punch, trav 😬

            • Blazer

               /  July 26, 2017

              Hopeless analogy and Melo dramatic nonsense .

          • Zedd

             /  July 26, 2017

            @ Trav
            WOW it must be wonderful to be so ‘PERFECT’ eh ?
            **never driven over the speed limit or after an extra drink or two etc.

            “I remember when we used to sit… in Aotearoa; Observing the Hypocrites.. as they mingle with the GOOD people we meet..” 😦

            • Physician heal thyself. Watch out for that ad hominem

            • Gezza

               /  July 26, 2017

              Well, I certainly don’t claim to have lived a sin-free life Zedd, but I’ve never knowingly ripped off the taxpayers. One of my faves from the Reggae God, Jah Rest His Soul. Enjoy.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 26, 2017

              I see no difference between this type of fraud-she must have signed who knows how many false declarations-and that of an embezzler.

              Alex Swney believed that he was entitled to more than he was earning, so rectified this by fraud. Ditto other fraudsters.

              I can see MT’s point about confidentiality, but she would do better to say to such people that because of the position she holds, she would rather that they didn’t tell her about the crimes that they are committing.

  8. adamsmith1922

     /  July 26, 2017

    I note that to become an NZ citizen you swear to uphold the laws of NZ. I assume that a NZ citizen by birth as Turei is, has a similar obligation. As she has confessed to not doing so, how can she have aspirations to hold Ministerial office, let alone carry on as an MP. She is morally corrupt and very, very ethically challenged. Any credibility she may have had outside the Green Party hhas been severely damaged. No one could ever again believe anything she said, let alone any oaths as to upholding laws and telling the truth.

    • Blazer

       /  July 26, 2017

      The public have very low expectations of…politicians. ..and are. .seldom disappointed.

      • Gezza

         /  July 26, 2017

        While that is true in the general sense, because they can all be seen as self-servibg troughers who in government spout a lot of flim flam, in this case I am extremely disappointed, because it’s literal, blatant fraud, ripping off hard-working taxpayers, & penalising all beneficiaries thru being a cause of rigorous, often stressful checks of every beneficiary to try & prevent this sort of dishonesty.

        • MaureenW

           /  July 26, 2017

          …..”self-serving troughers …” Never a truer word spoken G. Worse still, they all come across as self-serving troughers, I cannot think of one who gives the impression that they’re there primarily to perform a service for the betterment of others.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  July 26, 2017

            What arrant nonsense, spoken by someone who can’t know any of these people. Who else would do the hours that they do ? Who else has the flak thrown at them that MPs have ?

            Have you any idea of what they actually do ?

            ‘They all come across as self-serving troughers’. Do you vote ? If you do, why do you vote for such people ? Why would anyone ?

            This is such a witless generalisation that I wonder why I bother to respond to it.

            • Gezza

               /  July 26, 2017

              You respond to it because you know it’s a generalisation & you know that an MP’s and especially a Cabinet Minister’s life is a tough one. It’s hard on marriages, sometimes their children, the hours are not just those spent in The House, they are on call 24/7, and although the payoffs are lucrative for those with the thick hidedness, ruggedness, skills and/or cunning /or & drive to exploit them, it’s not a job most of us would be prepared to take on. For a start, you’ve got to put yourself out there & see if people even like you enuf to vote for you.

              I like it that you remind me of that Kitty. Don’t ever stop.

            • MaureenW

               /  July 26, 2017

              Didn’t say I “knew” them catty, I said in as many words that I couldn’t think of one who gives me the impression that their focus is not their own self betterment.
              I read your comment and two words sprung to my mind. They were .. pedantic crone.

  9. Tipene

     /  July 26, 2017

    Turei has never made a secret of her anarchist traits.

    It’s just that she has never been so public about them up until now.

    She is caught between being the “man”, whilst rejecting the “man”, and thus is both morally and cognitively dissonant.

    Turei, twist and turn as she might, cannot rationally reconcile these two incompatible strands in her dual premise.

    The dissonance will be reconciled for her eventually – and I’m picking it will the Green Party itself that eventually delivers the red pill.

  10. MaureenW

     /  July 26, 2017

    Self-exposed hypocrite should have paid back the money first and kept her gob shut. She is a loathsome character at the best of times, but for her to have thought she would garner some good publicity for either herself or her cause(s), demonstrates she’s not fit for public office. Just Leave!
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11895318

  11. PDB

     /  July 26, 2017

    Two questions she should be asked;

    *At any time did you receive any monetary support from your daughter’s father whilst you were drawing a solo mother’s benefit?
    *If, as you ascertain, the benefit system has meant people have had to resort to crime since at least the 1990’s to survive why did you do nothing to raise the issue/fix the issue when propping up Helen Clark’s Labour govt between 2002 and 2008?

    • Blazer

       /  July 26, 2017

      Wonder how many critics can hand on heart claim to have never paid or received cash payments. ….fudged insurance claims or never failed to be…truthful in all….their dealings.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  July 26, 2017

        I have never fudged an insurance claim, I’d like to say it’s because I’m too honest but it’s in part because I’d be afraid of being caught.

        Cash payments are all right for small amounts where the tax saved is less than what it would cost IRD to recover it,, but as I understand that one has no comeback for something done in this way, one would be a fool to do this for a large thing like a bathroom or a new roof. New roof ? what new roof ? No record of it, mate. The new bath leaks and the floor’s rotting ? No new bathroom on our books.

  12. Im all for increasing payments to beneficiaries, but the obligations need to stay. Even if there is a grace period initially, no obligations for the first few months say, as most people are motivated to get off the benny, and WINZ can focus on the troughers rather than micro managing every beneficiary, as more and more (motivated) people are put out of work by automation etc and all they need is a bit of security while they are back on the prowl for new work.

    I find it abhorrent that mothers hold us to ransom to collect child support from wayward fathers, the only fix other than the punitive fix we have now is a national DNA database, at birth we could figure out the father without much effort, lots of privacy issues and consent etc rolled up into that ethical dilemma

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 26, 2017

      I find MT’s sentimental maunderings about how women are penalised for wanting some love and stability rather nauseating when we all know that the reality is likely to be Uncle Joe for a while, then Uncle Jack and so on.

      • Tipene

         /  July 26, 2017

        I billion upticks on that one, Kitty Catkin!

  13. Kitty Catkin

     /  July 26, 2017

    Not that this is anything new, of course.

    • Gezza

       /  July 26, 2017

      I don’t think taxpayers were paying them to do it back in the times of Shakers The Rude or Dickens tho, Kitty.

  1. Turei condoning benefit fraud — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition