The Dim-Post

April 15, 2013

There’s always money in the banana stand

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:07 am

Via Fairfax:

More than 500 people have had their benefits cancelled since the Ministry of Social Development began information sharing with Inland Revenue.

Co-operation with police also saw two people arrested last week for suspected welfare fraud of $375,000, Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows said.

Borrows said the work being done between government departments and agencies would save money.

“As at 31 March, 525 people’s benefits have been immediately cut as they are earning above the income threshold and have failed to disclose their full circumstances.”

Those involved were part of a larger group of 3500 people being contacted by MSD because they were believed to be earning above the threshold for welfare support, he said.

I think this is great, and don’t quite understand why the government hasn’t been doing this kind of data-matching for decades. But, as Jacinda Ardern points out, the cost of benefit fraud is tiny compared to tax fraud, which will be much easier for a Labour-Greens government to prosecute on a wide scale once the police can legitimately involve the GCSB in their investigations and monitor the communications of businesses, multi-national corporations, high net worth individuals, their accountants and tax lawyers. Boom! An extra six billion dollars a year for the government books! There’s your deficit gone AND funding for a year of government-funded maternity leave right there.

24 Comments »

  1. Don’t forget that a lot of those rich people not quite paying what you think is their fair share are quite mobile as well so will move when the govt gets too greedy. Sometimes something for nothing is better than simply nothing.

    Comment by Brown — April 15, 2013 @ 8:19 am

  2. And why right now? Someone remind us again of for how many years this data-sharing bizzo has been happening? Looks like the internal polling for asset sales – and darling Maula, why else roll out Molester – may be taking a distinct nose-dive. Poor old bennies, last punch-bag on the rank, and mostly brown and solomothery to boot….

    Comment by ak — April 15, 2013 @ 8:22 am

  3. Pretty fucking charming to call Chester Borrows ‘Molester’, ak

    Points for classiness

    Comment by Antoine — April 15, 2013 @ 8:36 am

  4. …and don’t quite understand why the government hasn’t been doing this kind of data-matching for decades.

    Indeed. There’ve been a few things we’ve implemented that I haven’t wanted to make a song and dance about, because the appropriate response would be “What? You weren’t doing that already?” Maybe Gower should be sticking a mic in Paula Bennett’s face to ask that question.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 15, 2013 @ 8:44 am

  5. Don’t forget that a lot of those rich people not quite paying what you think is their fair share are quite mobile as well so will move when the govt gets too greedy. Sometimes something for nothing is better than simply nothing.

    Imagine the social and economic chaos if our ‘owning lots of rental properties’ elite took their unique ‘owning lots of rental properties’ abilities elsewhere.

    Comment by danylmc — April 15, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  6. Pretty fucking charming to call Chester Borrows ‘Molester’, ak

    Au contraire, “Antoine”, pretty jolly accurate for any habitual beneficiary-basher I’d say, though it may reflect a generational definitional difference. (I’ll stick to the Concise Oxford if you don’t mind; apologies if it’s not “fucking” “classy” enough for your obviously refined wee soul)

    Comment by ak — April 15, 2013 @ 9:07 am

  7. Much?

    Comment by TransportationDevice A7-98.1 — April 15, 2013 @ 9:12 am

  8. Don’t forget that a lot of those rich people not quite paying what you think is their fair share are quite mobile as well so will move when the govt gets too greedy.
    Sometimes something for nothing is better than simply nothing.

    Brown – are you suggesting the wealthy get nothing for their taxes?
    Furthermore, if the grass is greener in being domiciled in a low-tax territory, why haven’t NZ’s wealthy gone Galt already?
    Do you regard expecting the wealthy to lump their tax burden without needing to resort to avoidance / evasion as an example of the State being “too greedy”?

    Comment by Gregor W — April 15, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  9. y’all realise that if everyone paid their ‘share’ (however that might be determined), it would be much easier to lower tax rates don’tcha?

    Comment by Sam — April 15, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  10. a lot of those rich people not quite paying what you think is their fair share are quite mobile as well so will move when the govt gets too greedy

    They’re welcome to leave with the clothes they stand up in, after signing over their overseas assets to the NZ taxpayer in return for being released from jail.

    Comment by rich — April 15, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

  11. “Don’t forget that a lot of those rich people not quite paying what you think is their fair share are quite mobile as well so will move when the govt gets too greedy.”

    Sure, but most other first world countries are moving down the same path at the moment, the UK is a notable exception. And NZ taxes are at the low end of the range – especially for the better off.

    Comment by billbennettnz — April 15, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  12. So if rich people move, they either sell up to reinvest elsewhere, or they leave their assets here. Either way, I don’t see what the actual damage here is? What exactly will Alan Gibbs take with him that hurts New Zealand when he finally bails?

    Comment by Stephen J — April 15, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

  13. “…What exactly will Alan Gibbs take with him that hurts New Zealand when he finally bails..?”

    He HAS got a giraffe, you know.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 15, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  14. Or to put this a bit more concretely, suppose the Spencers decide to leave our socialist shores for good. Their real property stays here, their other assets get sold presumably to a mix of overseas and local purchasers. Where’s the net hit to NZ? The employment, tax and other contributions to the economy that their assets made remain here, don’t they?

    Comment by Stephen J — April 15, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

  15. Yeh, but Stepehn J, think of the ‘loss of business confidence’! All those business investors unable to decide what NZ firms to invest in, because their preferred investment strategy – buying into what every other businessman is buying into – has been fatally undermined by some business tycoons vacating the Kiwi premises with their wealth. If there isn’t sheep-like consensus among the business community, how will they decide their optimal investment strategy?

    When the liberal capitalists fly arguments like that, do they realise how dramatically they undermine their arguments for huge executive and director salaries?

    Comment by bob — April 15, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

  16. He HAS got a giraffe, you know.

    And the worlds largest Tesla coil!

    Comment by Gregor W — April 15, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

  17. “e once the police can legitimately involve the GCSB in their investigations and monitor the communications of businesses, multi-national corporations, high net worth individuals, their accountants and tax lawyers.”

    Of course, there is nothing stopping the GCSB from spying on NZers in the category Danyl cites above right now – s14 of the GCSB Act 2003 only bans the GCSB from spying on NZ citizens and permanent residents IF they are not foreign persons or organisations.

    The definition of foreign persons is pretty tight, but the definition of foreign organisations (see s4) allows spying on companies registered outside NZ (and people who work for them or represent them), which encompasses most of the NZ rich.

    Just saying. This loophole is consistently ignored by the media and commentators. People as diverse as Bob Jones, Michael Fay, Helen Clark, Don McKinnon, etc could all be spied on legally.

    Comment by bob — April 15, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  18. Gibbs might struggle to move that giant Kapoor of his. But then, he is a Galtian superhuman…

    Danyl is suggesting things that Labour will not embrace, because Labour still haven’t disavowed themselves from their 1990s-2000s philosophy of pretending progress is possible without conflict. This will cause a giant fight, and the only way to win a fight it to engage in it. It won’t happen, not with the Shearers, Cosgroves, and Hipkins of this world in charge. There’s still time to backbench them and put some real reformers in charge.

    Comment by George D — April 15, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

  19. George:

    Danyl is not suggesting policies that Labor should embrace. Rather, he is suggesting attack lines that can be used against National.

    Bear in mind this is a satire site, it is not meant for developing policy.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — April 15, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

  20. The latest press releases from Labour and the Greens pretty much sum up their different approaches.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1304/S00244/plenty-of-questions-for-key-still-to-answer.htm

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1304/S00254/illegal-spying-is-not-acceptable-op-ed-by-russel-norman.htm

    Labour can only go on about Fletcher as if that issue was still alive. The had no follow through and given Robetson’s knowledge of what ever happened under Clark he’s unlikely to be offering much else.

    The Greens in contrast stick to a consistent view which at least addresses the substantive issue and Key’s propolis.

    Meanwhile Shearer wants an inquiry before Labour will commit to any position. Did they forger they wrote the legislation? Can’t they come up with something tangible.

    Comment by NeilM — April 15, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

  21. “Meanwhile Shearer wants an inquiry before Labour will commit to any position. Did they forger they wrote the legislation? Can’t they come up with something tangible.”

    Bloody good point NeilM – the GCSB Act was only passed a decade ago; cellphones, laptops and the internet had all existed for many years at that time, and Parliament had a thorough look at the spy agencies and the way they operated back then. Shearer has his enquiry, if he can be bothered to read it! They can quickly and easily update it for the technological progress made since (not that such progress radically affects the issues around GCSB vs SIS & police spying).

    Hope some journo grills Shearer on this point. Labour are softening us up for their cave-in again; if Dunne won’t support Key, Labour will.

    Comment by bob — April 16, 2013 @ 12:57 am

  22. “….But then, he is a Galtian superhuman…”

    As far as I can tell, he is an ex-civil servant burnt by the regulated economy of the 1960s who has spent his time ever since asset stripping and destroying our economy in revenge. He most notoriously asset stripped and destroyed Ceramco (AKA the iconic Crown Lynn potteries) and he made most of his money in the corrupt fire sales of the fourth Labour Government. Galtian superman? Hah! he made all his money by being a a dinky version of a Russian oligarch. He sole venture into a business that actually makes anything seems to be around a ridiculous amphibious car, an expensive and limited use toy which he has somehow convinced himself the world needs.Still getting over the Anziel Nova, I suppose.

    Given Alan Gibbs well known political extremism, I wonder if the GCSB have ever spied on him or any of the others in the shadowy world of ACT party funding? I am sure that are guilty of a few conspiracies against the people and are just an illegal intercept and a light bit of waterboarding away from being uncovered…

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 16, 2013 @ 7:46 am

  23. I don’t know about all this, but I *am* looking forward to the new Arrested Development

    Comment by kimshepherdim — April 16, 2013 @ 11:53 am

  24. ” Did they forger they wrote the legislation”

    Point of information, I believe that clause was inserted solely to get the support of the Alliance, not because it was Labour policy at the time.

    Comment by Stephen J — April 16, 2013 @ 2:09 pm


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