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Unpaid Fines Skyrocket -- Dr Muriel Newman

Unpaid Fines Skyrocket

Tuesday 15 Oct 2002 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

Labour has allowed the amount owed by criminals in unpaid fines to increase by more than $109 million in just two years, ACT Police Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

The Department for Courts' annual report shows $287.5 million of the $420.7 million in unpaid fines is overdue, up from $220.6 million last year and $187.1 million in 2000. Six in ten fines available for collection remained outstanding.

"This is a shocking case of the Labour Government failing to uphold the law. A fine is a pointless penalty if the Government doesn't follow up and make sure the money is paid.

"For New Zealanders to have faith in the law, we must have confidence that penalties have weight behind them. How can victims have peace of mind when offenders can flout the law with the implicit approval of the Government?

"The average time that overdue fines have been outstanding is over three years, and the value of fines collected has decreased.

"If Labour intends to provide true justice for victims, it will ensure that criminal fines are collected, and the law is upheld," Dr Newman said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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