This speaks for itself really:
Courts tougher on benefit fraud than tax dodging – study
New research reveals tax dodgers are ripping off the country at up to 150 times the rate of welfare fraudsters, but are being jailed much less often. …
Last year, tax evaders cheated the country of between $1 and $6 billion, while welfare fraud cost $39 million. “The problem of tax evasion is at best case scenario 25 to 50 times the financial amount of welfare fraud, and at worst case scenario potentially 100 to 150 times the amount,” says Dr Marriott.
And the latest research from Victoria University suggests our courts are far from equal in their treatment of the two groups.
“For tax evaders, the average offending is about four times as much, but have about a third of the likelihood of receiving a custodial sentence.”
The numbers tell the story. For tax evaders, the average offending is $270,000, and those found guilty have only a 22 percent, or one-in-five chance, of being jailed.
For welfare fraudsters, the average offending is $70,000, and those found guilty have a 60 percent chance of being jailed.
So is it a case of our courts demonising the poor?
“It highlights the prejudices we have against beneficiaries and that we’re judging them as different because of their work status,” says Sarah Thompson of Auckland Action Against Poverty.
So – structural discrimination against beneficiaries – gee I wonder if the Nats’ beneficiary bashing tactics will help, or make things worse? I wonder if the Nats will pursue the big problem, or continue to hound the one which is a fraction of the cost?