Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard
Question No. 5—Revenue
5. NICOLA WILLIS (Deputy Leader—National) to the Minister of Revenue: Does he agree with the Minister of Finance’s statement from 17 July 2022 regarding the cost of living payment that “this payment will support an estimated 2.1 million people”, and is he satisfied with the delivery of this payment?
Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister of Revenue): Yes, and yes. This payment has already reached over 1.3 million New Zealanders promptly, supporting them through a time of elevated cost of living. An estimated 800,000 additional people will become entitled as they file their tax return for the year ended 31 March 2022 or provide their bank details.
Nicola Willis: Does he stand by his statement made to Tova O’Brien in an interview last week where he said that for an ineligible person to have received the payment, they “would have to be acting fraudulently”?
Hon DAVID PARKER: No, I don’t think I did say that.
Erica Stanford: Yes, you did.
Hon DAVID PARKER: If I said that, that’s been taken out of context. I always made it clear that the payment was being made on the basis of the details held by Inland Revenue.
Nicola Willis: Does the Minister stand by the statement he made to Tova O’Brien that “The French man as your example … He will know or should know from the information that he has received that because he is no longer resident in New Zealand he’s not qualified. Therefore for him to get the payment he would have to be acting fraudulently.”?
Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, I do, because I heard the radio station play a clip in respect of that person which indicated that the person knew that the entitlement was based on being resident in New Zealand and he knew that he wasn’t.
Nicola Willis: Did IRD conduct data matching with Immigration New Zealand or other agencies to check whether potential recipients had moved overseas, and, if not, why not?
Hon DAVID PARKER: No, they haven’t, in part because their information-sharing arrangements with Customs don’t cover the use of the data in that way.
Nicola Willis: Did it not occur to the Minister that not everyone in IRD’s database would have updated their address after having moved overseas, and why were no steps taken to prevent them receiving the payment?
Hon DAVID PARKER: Indeed, Inland Revenue advised Cabinet, and Cabinet agreed, that this would be paid on the basis of eligibility criteria that would not always be correct. Inland Revenue advised, and Cabinet agreed, that the payment in those situations would be non-recoverable, other than in the cases of fraudulent activity.
Nicola Willis: Can the Minister guarantee that no money has been paid to prisoners through the cost of living payment, who are just as ineligible for that payment as those living overseas?
Hon DAVID PARKER: I can guarantee that they’re ineligible to receive the payment, and I can also advise the member that I’ve received no reports of any such instance.