This story has the wrong headline. It should have read, "Judge says benefit fraud very prevalent in New Zealand." This is just another case. The story is the prevalence of fraud.
Prevalence but, I very much suspect, a growing indifference to it.
Take David Benson Pope answering a PQ; The number of allegations of benefit fraud has fallen by over 36 percent in the last 6 years. The number of allegations received from either staff or members of the public in each of the last five years is: 29,363 (2001/2002) 29,628 (2002/2003) 27,134 (2003/2004) 13,462 (2004/2005) 18,845 (2005/2006) The number of allegations received for December 2006, January 2007 and February 2007 were 1,457; 1,597 and 1,410 respectively.
The number of concluded prosecutions for the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 financial years is 1,306 and 937 cases respectively.
Note the huge drop of 50 percent between 2003/04 and 2004/05.
In the year to April 1979 there were 209 prosecutions but the number of breaches was 9494. Some were "trivial or involved perhaps just a portion of a weekly payment". 6144 deliberate breaches were however referred to the police department who advised the Social Welfare Department it did not intend to take prosecutions in 3691 of them. (No. I do not know why there is such a large discrepancy between the remainder and the number of convictions.)
There were around 80,000 working age beneficiaries at that time therefore the rate of breaches per 1,000 beneficiaries was 118.7
There is no identical data to match but if I can compare breaches with allegations (substantiations would be even lower), in 2005/06 there were 18,845 allegations and 280,000 beneficiaries - a rate of 67.3 per 1,000.
That's to be expected. People on benefits today are far more honest.
Either that or the public and the department are far more tolerant.
41 minutes ago