"Work and Income is owed $180 million from former and current clients who have defrauded the system - and that amount has doubled in five years."
Yesterday a journalist working on CheckPoint sent me some OIA data looking for comment.
I advised that he look at this graph:
MSD is getting better at detecting fraud. Fraud detections doubled in 2013/14 because of MSD's IRD data-matching programme, It isn't getting better at recovering the debt. But I would be surprised if the behaviour of beneficiaries has changed particularly.
The second most common type of benefit fraud (after working while claiming a benefit) is people claiming a single parent benefit when they are in a relationship. In February 2014 MSD started a 12 month trial involving following up with 1,616 sole parent support clients to establish entitlement to a benefit.
Then, the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill passed into law in April 2014. It's purpose was "to make spouses and partners, as well as beneficiaries, accountable for fraud, and to enable the Ministry of Social Development to recover debt more effectively". Obviously not working yet.
Maybe he wanted me to say something derogatory about fraudulent beneficiaries to provide 'balance'. Because he didn't use any of my comment.