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New Year discounts - $32M in fines wiped

New Year discounts - $32M in fines wiped

New Zealand courts wiped $32 million in fines last year, with two offenders getting off fines of $90,000 each, according to the National Party.

Figures released today by National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall show that fines totalling $32 million were wiped by the country's courts in the last financial year. This was up from $29 million in the previous year, and $23 million in the 1999-2000 year.

Twenty-three people had fines over $10,000 wiped. The vast majority of fines written off were for under $1000.

"These write-offs will only get worse as the Government's new Sentencing Act encourages judges to issue fines instead of prison sentences," says Mr Ryall.

"Most of these fines are written off because people go to jail or are given community work instead. For example, a North Island woman had $36,000 in fines wiped last year in return for 250 hours of community work.

"Why should a sentence mean a fines write-off? These people go to jail, get fed and looked after, but they don't have to pay their fines.

"This is the money we need for our schools, our hospitals and our roads.

"Sure, it may take some criminals a long time to pay off fines, but the continuing anguish of their victims can't be written off so easily," says Mr Ryall.

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