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Parker says 'nothing to investigate' with cost of living payment after National's call

Newshub logo Newshub 2/08/2022 Amelia Wade
National's Nicola Willis said it is an "absolute stuff up". © Video - Newshub; Image - Getty Images. National's Nicola Willis said it is an "absolute stuff up".

Almost 800,000 Kiwis eligible for the cost of living payment are still waiting while millions of dollars could be sent to people who don't even fit the criteria.

National is calling the payment embarrassing and wants a review.

More than a million Kiwis woke up a little bit richer on Monday, though not everyone who needed it.

Debbie Ward's not eligible for the payment herself. But she says disabled people are disproportionately on supported living payments so won't get the Government's free $350.

Parker says 'nothing to investigate' with cost of living payment after National's call
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"Why the population that probably need it the most didn't receive it," Ward, the CCS Disability Action's National Disability Leadership Coordinator, said. 

"I'm not actually too concerned about people getting money who actually got the payment, it's more about who didn't get the payment for me."

Ineligible Kiwis living overseas - like Charlotte Castle, who is based in Australia - did get it.

"I'll probably opt out of any further payments," she told Newshub on Monday.

Using IRD's own numbers, 2.1 million Kiwis are likely to get the cost of living payment. But it thinks about 1 percent - about 21,000 - were actually ineligible and got it anyway. That means $7.3 million could be lost to people who shouldn't get it.

"We'd obviously prefer if there is none but the only alternative is wasting money on further administrative costs," said Revenue Minister David Parker. 

But National's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said it is an "absolute stuff up". 

"The Government was warned it would be by its own advisors and it pressed play anyway."

Not even everyone who should have got the payment actually got it. So far, IRD's tracked down 1.32 million recipients, but needs the others to do their taxes.

"Two-point-one million remains correct but people don't become eligible until they file their tax return and provide other information to Inland Revenue," said Parker.

National wants the Auditor General to investigate.

"This is the Government in a very sloppy way wasting taxpayers' dollars," said Willis. 

But Parker said "there's nothing for the Auditor General to investigate".

For a Government going to great lengths to tell the public it's a conscientious spender, $7.3 million going to Kiwis who don't need or want this payment, is a heck of a rounding error.

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