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Benefit fraud v tax avoidance – why is one dealt with more harshly by courts?
The Ministry of Social Development is one of the country's most aggressive prosecutors, behind only police and the Corrections Department.
New figures provided to the Attorney-General have raised questions about whether the ministry is being too tough on benefit fraudsters, compared with the actions of agencies such as ACC, or Inland Revenue's targeting of white-collar tax avoidance.
The figures, in a briefing by Crown Law on the public prosecutions systems' efficiency, show the ministry made 670 prosecutions in the year to March 2015, while ACC made only four in the same period.
Crown Law wrote: "An interesting comparison is emerging between ACC and MSD, both of which investigate comparable offences ... but appear to have very different approaches to the decision to prosecute."
Read the full article by Talia Shadwell > The Dominion Post - stuff.co.nz