Welfare fraud reforms designed to stop illegal payouts have
resulted in the cancellation of more than 350 southern
Ministry of Social Development data released yesterday
revealed 367 benefits in the southern region were cancelled
and $1.8 million in overpayments needed to be recovered.
The ministry website said about 360,000 people lived in the
southern region, with nearly two-thirds living in Dunedin,
Invercargill and Timaru.
The reform was launched in January last year and data was up
to the end of March this year.
In the same period, the reforms resulted in 5900 benefits in
New Zealand being cancelled.
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Burrows said
nationally to the end of June, the reforms had recouped $47
Mr Burrows said 4614 beneficiaries were investigated, to
reveal 2270 overpayments, and 893 people were prosecuted in
the 2013-14 year.
The investigation identified $88.4 million of fraud and
Mr Burrows said the enhanced information sharing between the
Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Social
Development in February last year was the ''standout
success'' of the reform and resulted in nearly 6900 benefits
''These are not people being kicked to the kerb - they are
people who are working, and earning enough money that they
are no longer eligible for the benefit,'' Mr Burrows said.