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Two weeks to make Clean Slate Bill submissions


9 September 2002

Public have two weeks to make Clean Slate submissions

People have until September 27 to put their views forward on proposed legislation to wipe minor criminal convictions.

Green Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos introduced his Clean Slate private member's bill last year which seeks to wipe minor convictions - defined as those that received less than six months in prison or a fine of less than $2000 - after seven years without re-offending.

As a result of the high level of public support for Nandor's bill Justice Minister Phil Goff drafted his own version. This does not apply to any prison sentence and only kicks in after 10 years. Both Nandor's and the Government's bills are being considered side by side.

"I think that the public has a real opportunity to influence what happens," said Nandor.

"Phil Goff originally said it should only apply to three month sentences. I think the weakness of his bill as introduced is to get National support. Of course National has switched again and won't support any form of clean slate legislation. That's why I think the Minister can be shifted on this."

Nandor said it was important that people who had received short prison sentences should also have the opportunity to put their past behind them and get on with their lives.

"People have got prison for doing dumb things that you'd get diversion for today. Under Mr Goff's bill, they would have to carry that burden for the rest of their lives.

"This is an important piece of legislation which I am proud to have bought to parliament. It is important that ordinary people have their say."

Nandor's bill can be viewed at http://www.greens.org.nz/searchdocs/other5526.html

Submissions should be made to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee, Parliament, Wellington, by September 27.

ENDS

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