People with outstanding arrest warrants will no longer receive a benefit while evading Police says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.
“Of the approximately 15,000 people with a current arrest warrant, around 8,200 are on benefits,” says Mrs Bennett.
“If someone has an unresolved arrest warrant we will stop their benefit until they do the right thing and come forward to the authorities.”
“In exceptional circumstances where someone poses a danger to the public, their benefit can be stopped immediately at the request of the Police Commissioner,” says Mrs Bennett.
Around 58 per cent of people clear their arrest warrants within 28 days. Those who don’t will be given 10 days to clear or challenge the warrant before their benefit is stopped, or reduced by fifty per cent if they have dependent children.
People will still be able to apply for hardship assistance for themselves and their children.
“Most people clear their warrants within a month, so 38 days is a reasonable amount of time to step forward and straighten things out,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Once someone has come forward their benefit can be reinstated but there will be clear consequences for people who continually refuse to acknowledge or resolve arrest warrants.”