Written By: - Date published: 7:54 am, October 21st, 2014 - 57 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, crime, law, scoundrels - Tags: beneficiary bashing, benefit fraud, fraud, hypocrisy, white collar crime
RNZ had an excellent weekend piece on the cost of crime:
Economic crime costs up to $9.4bn
Economic crime is costing New Zealand up to $9.4 billion a year according to a draft Serious Fraud Office (SFO) report obtained by Radio New Zealand.
At the beginning of last year the then Minister for the SFO, Anne Tolley, was reported as saying that a number of Government ministries had been working for two years on a report quantifying the cost of economic crime and it would be presented to Cabinet in the near future.
But the report did not make it to Cabinet and was not released.
Why didn’t the report get published? Why did RNZ have to use the OIA to get it? The Nats (Michael Woodhouse) say it was because they had concerns about the methodology. What they mean, of course, is that they didn’t like the results:
National spends much of its spin and legislative effort demonising benefit fraud. It is a tiny fraction of fraud over all, which is completely dominated by $2Bn of tax fraud.
The report noted that was more than twice the combined annual budgets of police, the Department of Corrections, and the courts; more than the total net profit of New Zealand’s top 200 companies and top 30 financial institutions; or the equivalent of $2000 for every adult living in New Zealand.
By far the biggest component of that $6.1 to $9.4 billion was an estimated $2 billion a year in tax fraud – benefit fraud by comparison was thought to be about $80 million.
No wonder the Nats tried to bury it. Go read the full article on RNZ, plenty of other interesting stuff in there.
My conclusion (which should sound vaguely familiar) – our priorities as a country are completely screwed. If we put as much energy into cracking down on economic crime as we did chasing welfare cheats – we could afford a proper welfare system…