Hon Chester Borrows
Associate Minister of Social Development
IRD and MSD improve information sharing
Revenue Minister Peter Dunne and Associate Minister of Social Development Chester Borrows today announced the signing of an Order in Council to expand information sharing between Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development.
Mr Dunne described the order as a positive and welcome step forward for improving efficiency and fairness.
“This is a great example of government agencies finding new, more efficient ways to work smarter to deliver a great result for the New Zealand taxpayer,” Mr Dunne said.
The agencies already share client details, and this week’s signing will mean that from May 31, relevant client information will be shared automatically, rather than being provided upon specific request, as is the current practice.
Mr Dunne stressed that only information needed to prove a benefit entitlement will be shared.
“Client privacy and confidentiality is paramount in this process” he said.
Mr Borrows, the Associate Minister of Social Development with responsibility for benefit fraud, lauded the change as a powerful tool to minimise overpayments and prevent fraud.
“This enhanced information sharing is the next step to deliver this Government’s commitment to crack down on welfare fraud,” he said.
“While the vast majority of beneficiaries do the right thing and declare their income, a small minority think it’s okay to steal from the taxpayer, and steal a lot of public money. Last year fraudsters stole $22 million and 658 people were prosecuted for benefit fraud, so it’s vital that the Ministry has the tools it needs to identify and stop these criminals as quickly as possible.”
The new protocols are part of the Government’s drive for improved information sharing between government agencies to help deliver better public services. The order will come into force on 31 May 2012 and the text is available at www.legislation.govt.nz.