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18th of July 2018

Politics



Judgment: F v MSD | Scoop News

Wednesday, 4 July 2018, 12:24 pmPress Release: New Zealand High Court

NOTE: PUBLICATION OF NAME, ADDRESS, OCCUPATION OR IDENTIFYING PARTICULARS OF FIRST APPELLANT/SECOND RESPONDENT PROHIBITED

IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALANDAUCKLAND REGISTRY

I TE KŌTI MATUA O AOTEAROATĀMAKI MAKAURAU ROHE

CIV-2017-485-000047[2018] NZHC 1607

IN THE MATTER OFAn appeal by way of Case Stated from the determination of the Social Security Appeal Authority at Wellington under section 12Q of the Social Security Act 1964

BETWEENFFirst AppellantANDTHE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTFirst Respondent

BETWEENTHE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Second AppellantANDFSecond Respondent

[…]

Introduction

[1] Ms F is a solo parent with two dependent children. Between 2005 and 2010 she received the Domestic Purposes Benefit as well as other forms of assistance under the Social Security Act 1964. In 2010, following a tip-off from Ms F’s ex-partner, the Ministry of Social Development commenced an investigation into her financial circumstances and reviewed her benefit entitlements. It found that she had received income from various additional sources and as a consequence had been paid more than she was entitled to in the form of social security assistance.

[2] The Ministry now seeks to recover $109,852.91 in overpayments from Ms F. Ms F has appealed its decision to the Benefits Review Committee and the Social Security Appeal Authority, and the Authority now poses two questions of law for this Court on appeal: (a) Did the Authority err in law in its interpretation and application of what constituted “income” for the purposes of the Social Security Act 1964, in finding that money received by Ms F from her mother or other unknown sources constituted income?

(b) Did the Authority err in law in finding that Ms F’s spending from bank loans borrowed on the security of her home to meet living expenses was not “income”?

[…]

Result

[101] I answer the questions posed in the case stated as follows:

(a) Did the Authority err in law in its interpretation and application of what constituted income for the purposes of the Social Security Act 1964 in finding that money received by Ms F from her mother or other unknown sources constituted income?

(i) Yes (regarding the money Ms F received from her mother).

(ii) Yes (regarding Ms F’s credit card expenditure).

(iii) No (regarding the money Ms F received from other unknown sources).

(b) Did the Authority err in law by misapplying s 3(1) of the Act in finding Ms F’s spending from bank loans borrowed on the security of her home to meet living expenses was not “income”?

(i) No.

[…]

Costs

[104] While both parties have had a measure of success on this appeal, Ms F’s success is more significant than the Ministry and she is entitled to costs on a 2B basis. If the parties cannot agree as to costs, they may each file brief memoranda of no more than five pages (excluding schedules). Ms F may file a memorandum within 10 working days of release of this judgment, and the Ministry may file a memorandum in response within 15 working days of the release of this judgment.

Full judgment: HC_FvMSD.pdf

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