A Matakana Island man who stole almost $52,000 in welfare payments by falsely claiming he was paying rent has been jailed for 20 months.
The $51,166.69 debt Hemi Tearoa Paki's owes to the Ministry of Social Development will take more than 60 years to pay back at the $15.50 a week current repayment rate.
Paki, 52, who earlier pleaded guilty to nine charges of obtaining by deception, five of using a forged document and four of dishonestly using a document, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court this morning.
The offences were committed between 1999 and 2011 when Paki claimed supplementary benefits on multiple occasions.
The claims were accompanied by a forged letter and various tenancy agreements.
Judge Merelina Burnett granted Paki leave to apply to substitute his sentence if a suitable home detention address became available.