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Government ignores fine dodgers as debt soars

Government ignores fine dodgers as debt soars

National's Police spokesman, Tony Ryall, is accusing the Government of turning a blind eye to fine dodgers who now collectively owe more than $451 million in outstanding fines.

"The Department for Courts is proving itself totally incompetent at getting this money in. Fine defaulters are ignoring notices because they know no one will hassle them to pay.

Figures obtained by Mr Ryall show that the balance of outstanding fines as at 31 December 2002 stands at more than $451 million. This is a jump of $64 million on the previous year, and up from $324 million as at 31 December 2000.

"This is money we need for our schools, our hospitals and our roads. Instead it is filling the pockets of the country's criminals and fine dodgers," says Mr Ryall.

"Three years ago, the Government promised to use tougher enforcement measures to crack down hard on defaulters. But it has turned a blind eye and the outstanding debt has soared.

"National's view is that a much greater use of attachment orders and similar measures should be applied to fines. The message has to be hammered home to fine defaulters that they will pay.

"The success of the 'Phil Phines That's Procrastination' campaign of the late 1990's is the best example of that," says Mr Ryall.

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