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Fines defaulters urged to pay or be published

North Island fines defaulters urged to pay up before others read all about it

Fines defaulters in Auckland and Northland are the next targets of a hard-hitting enforcement strategy that advertises the names of major fine defaulters, Courts Minister Rick Barker announced today.

“Radio and newspaper advertising starting today warns some offenders they have less than three weeks to resolve their fines or risk having their name, age and last known address published in newspapers.

“Those affected owe $500 or more in overdue fines and have not made a payment in the last three months or longer.”

Section 87A of the Summary Proceedings Act provides the Courts Department with the authority to publish the names of fines defaulters who have failed to contact collections staff for three or more months and can not be located.

Mr Barker said the recent success of a South Island trial advertising the names of major fines defaulters helped cement a continuation of the initiative in the upper North Island.

“Publishing names sometimes encourages defaulters to do something about their fines, but we also get useful information from the public who have seen the advertisement.

”Fine defaulters’ details will be published in Auckland and Northland papers over two consecutive weekends – 30 August and 6 September 2003.The South Island campaign, which ran in May and June, resulted in positive action on around 40 percent of the 553 fine defaulters publicised."

Mr Barker said information provided by the public on the whereabouts of “elusive” South Island offenders showed there was a low tolerance of fines and reparation defaulters in the community.

“We urge the public to help us find these people. Many owe court-ordered reparation, which we are keen to collect to pay their victims. Others owe significant amounts in overdue fines.”

If a fine defaulter can be located, Collections has a range of enforcement options to collect overdue fines.

These include seizing an offender's car or other property; issuing a warrant to arrest; or making compulsory deductions from wages or benefits.

Members of the public can check to see if they have a fine either by calling a toll free number 0800 4 FINES (0800 4 34637) or visiting Fines On-Line at http:// http://www.fines.govt.nz.

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