A bill which makes the partners of those who commit benefit fraud culpable for the crime has progressed with support from Labour despites its MPs expressing misgivings.
Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows said the Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill was about protecting the integrity of the welfare system by ensuring the “tiny minority” of people who rip the system off.
The bill would ensure partners of those who benefited from fraud were held to account if they knew about the fraud or were reckless to the fact.
Jacinda Adern said Labour would support the bill because it did not believe the welfare system should be undermined.
However the Government’s language around the bill was attempting to spread a belief beneficiaries were not in need and were defrauding the system, which was not true.
Ardern said the test about whether a partner of beneficiary knew about fraud should also be applied to tax fraud
The bill completed its second reading 102 to 18 with Greens, Maori Party and Mana opposed.
Debate began on the second reading of the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Amendment Bill.
Just before the House rose at 10pm, MPs completed the debate and the bill advanced by 64 to 56 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in support.
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