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What constitutes a "marriage/partner" in Fraud case

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 11:56 AM

A WINZ http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/ case currently before the Courts relating to what is considered the nature of marriage/ a partner

Take note of Judge Rea's comments.

It is good to see this issue been placed in the public arena and we hope it generates social media discussion.



Jury ponders marriage in fraud trial

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 11:12 13/12/2013
http://www.stuff.co....-in-fraud-trial

A jury deciding a case of alleged benefit fraud by a same-sex couple has retired to consider the nature of marriage.

The jury of 10 women and two men retired from the Napier District Court at 10.25am.

Judge Geoff Rea had summed up the week-long case for and against former Work and Income case manager Matthew Goodall and Daniel Morgan, who the Crown claims remained Goodall's partner despite claiming to be single to receive benefits.

Goodall, 41, is charged with dishonestly using a document with intent to obtain pecuniary advantage.

Morgan, 37, faces eight charges of the same nature between 2007 and 2010.

The Crown says the men claimed to be single so Morgan could continue receiving benefits, despite a law change from

April 1, 2007, that required beneficiaries in same-sex relationships to have their partners' incomes assessed in the same way as those of heterosexual couples.

The men claimed to have separated in late 2006, but to have remained living together and sharing expenses for the benefit of two children they cared for.

The Crown points to the numerous occasions after April 2007 on which Morgan stated on forms that the pair were still together. It says Goodall lied when he wrote a letter stating the pair had separated as a means of ensuring Morgan continued receiving benefits.

Judge Rea told jurors they must put prejudice and sympathy aside. He outlined the definition of "partner".

To consider the two in a relationship the jury needed to conclude they had a financial commitment to each other that went beyond sharing expenses and must amount to at least "a willingness to support the other person if that need existed", the judge said.

On top of that there must be "a continuing emotional commitment between the couple".

"Of these things the sharing of the same roof and a sexual relationship are likely to be the most significant indicators. However all the circumstances need to be considered in each case and there can be occasions where the sharing of a household and sexual activity between the couple are not necessary for the relationship to be established," Judge Rea said.

He said the Crown had to prove that Morgan knew he was being dishonest when he claimed the benefits and that Goodall's sole purpose in writing and signing the letter was so Morgan would get something he was not entitled to.


- © Fairfax NZ News
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#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 12:02 PM

Legal Recognition of Adult Relationships: Definition of De Facto Parental Relationships and Unmarried Minors

http://www.justice.g...nmarried-minors
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Posted 12 December 2014 - 01:50 PM

Children suffer: welfare's outdated ideas on relationships
Friday, 12 December 2014, 11:25 am
Press Release: Child Poverty Action Group

http://www.scoop.co....lationships.htm

UNDER EMBARGO until 11am, Friday December 12th 2014
Children suffer from outdated ideas on relationships in the welfare system

New Zealand's social security framework is based on outdated ideas of the nature of relationships and too often fails to protect the needs of children in the 21st century, says Child Poverty Action Group.


A CPAG report released today argues that the use of a 'couple' as the unit for determining welfare support is confusing and outdated, and can have serious harmful effects on children. The report has been written to raise awareness of these disturbing issues and to start a national conversation around making the welfare system fit for the 21st century.

Download the report here: The complexities of "relationship" in the welfare system and the consequences for children.


Economics spokesperson Associate Professor Susan St John says, "We should be wrapping all the support we can around sole parents caring for children on their own. We know that a sole parent re-partnering well can be a good thing for all concerned. Current policy gives the impression that attempts to do this must be punished. Any relationships, even very unsatisfactory ones that hurt children, mean sole parents can lose their independent source of income."


There are major inconsistencies in the use of relationship in the welfare system. It is difficult to justify a policy that pays less to a couple than to two individuals who share accommodation and costs. A sole mother who flats with another person may be in a very similar financial situation to one who is living with someone, male or female, in a 'relationship'.

The report finds that tests for the degree of financial interdependence and emotional commitment, needed for the relationship to be treated as 'in the nature of marriage', are subjective and inconsistent. There is often a degree of surveillance that is far from open and transparent. Moreover the appeal processes for anyone accused of being in a relationship are very unsatisfactory. A sole parent may even be given a prison sentence with scant regard to the impact on her children.

Susan St John says, "it is worrying to see how often sole mothers face both imprisonment and a lifetime of repayments."

"Children and their needs do not feature adequately in the design of welfare benefits, or in the way policy is implemented around them, including the pursuit of their parent accused of relationship fraud. We believe there is NO benefit in imprisoning sole parents or setting excessive financial penalties from a punitive or deterrent point of view, especially once the cost and the impact on children is considered," says St John.

CPAG deplores fraud such as using multiple names to access benefits, or deliberately accessing a benefit while in full-time work. But in cases described as 'relationship fraud' the issues are far from clear cut and suggest that a complete overhaul in policy is required. One of the first steps is to put all standard welfare benefits on an individual basis so that having a partner is not penalised.

The report is being launched at the Mangere East Community Learning Centre at 11am on 12 December, 2014.

Child Poverty Action Group is grateful to the The Hostel of the Holy Name Trust for their support for this project.

- ENDS -

© Scoop Media
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