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Fines collections at airports

Fines collections at airports

The Courts and Criminal Matters Bill, which contains provisions designed to stop “hard core” fines defaulters leaving the country, was introduced to the House today.

Courts Minister Margaret Wilson said currently most fines defaulters are able to leave New Zealand permanently, or go on holiday, without attracting the interest of the Department for Courts’ Collections Unit.

“There have been cases where people have left our shores owing thousands of dollars in fines. This bill sets up a data-matching programme involving Courts and the Customs Service, and will allow Courts to apply a proactive focus to preventing serious fines defaulters leaving the country.”

“Defaulters will have the opportunity to pay the fine immediately, make an arrangement to pay or be arrested.”

“But the real benefit of this initiative is that it will reinforce the message that fines must be paid. The prospect of being stopped at the airport will encourage people to pay up before they travel.”

Once up and running, the initiative is expected to bring in an extra $1.5 million each year in fines that would otherwise not be collected.

Margaret Wilson said in a further initiative to improve fines collection, the Courts and Criminal Matters Bill will also enable the court to increase payment arrangements when fines defaulters’ financial circumstances have improved significantly, or where it is discovered that misleading information has been given.

“There will be more scope for collecting and paying out reparation owing to victims in a more timely way.”

The bill will also extend the existing information-matching arrangement with the Inland Revenue Department.

“This will mean a fines defaulter can be contacted at their place of employment to make arrangements to pay outstanding fines and reparation. Courts will be able to get the phone number of defaulters’ employers from IRD and defaulter’s phone numbers, benefit number and benefit type from the Ministry of Social Development so that attachment orders can be made against fines defaulters’ income more effectively.” There are also a number of “tidy-up” legislative provisions contained in the bill to improve the effectiveness of fines and civil enforcement activities, Margaret Wilson said.


The Courts and Criminal Matters Bill, which contains provisions designed to stop “hard core” fines defaulters leaving the country, was introduced to the House today.

Courts Minister Margaret Wilson said currently most fines defaulters are able to leave New Zealand permanently, or go on holiday, without attracting the interest of the Department for Courts’ Collections Unit.

“There have been cases where people have left our shores owing thousands of dollars in fines. This bill sets up a data-matching programme involving Courts and the Customs Service, and will allow Courts to apply a proactive focus to preventing serious fines defaulters leaving the country.”

“Defaulters will have the opportunity to pay the fine immediately, make an arrangement to pay or be arrested.”

“But the real benefit of this initiative is that it will reinforce the message that fines must be paid. The prospect of being stopped at the airport will encourage people to pay up before they travel.”

Once up and running, the initiative is expected to bring in an extra $1.5 million each year in fines that would otherwise not be collected.

Margaret Wilson said in a further initiative to improve fines collection, the Courts and Criminal Matters Bill will also enable the court to increase payment arrangements when fines defaulters’ financial circumstances have improved significantly, or where it is discovered that misleading information has been given.

“There will be more scope for collecting and paying out reparation owing to victims in a more timely way.”

The bill will also extend the existing information-matching arrangement with the Inland Revenue Department.

“This will mean a fines defaulter can be contacted at their place of employment to make arrangements to pay outstanding fines and reparation. Courts will be able to get the phone number of defaulters’ employers from IRD and defaulter’s phone numbers, benefit number and benefit type from the Ministry of Social Development so that attachment orders can be made against fines defaulters’ income more effectively.” There are also a number of “tidy-up” legislative provisions contained in the bill to improve the effectiveness of fines and civil enforcement activities, Margaret Wilson said.

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