Green's co-leader Metiria Turei says she will pay back money if WINZ present her with a bill after admitting she received money she shouldn't have while receiveing a benefit as a solo mother.
She did not disclose income from flatmates when she was receiving a benefit as a solo mother while training to be a lawyer in the 1990s.
The admission came as the Green Party announced a $1.4 billion plan to overhaul New Zealand's welfare system.
Today on TVNZ1's Breakfast, Ms Turei said choosing "between lying to the state and feeding their kids" was "the reality of living on a benefit".
"Particularlty for parents that are trying to do the best for their kids."
She said the system needed a "re-haul" so people did not have to go through what she did, but she would pay back money if WINZ investigated and asked for it.
"I'll pay that, that's fair enough," she said.
"I broke the law, and I understand that. There may well be consequences... but it is worth doing if I can get New Zealanders to understand how important it is to fix our welfare system."
"I'm in a privileged position, I can say this out loud, I'm not at risk like so many beneficiaries are."
She said she thought it was possible she could be charged, but had not taken any legal advice.
Ms Turei said she had met a lot of professional women in a similar position who had similar experiences.