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New fines payment campaign targets worst offenders

New fines payment campaign targets worst offenders

An eye-catching advertising campaign targeting one of the worst groups of fines defaulters in the country was launched today with a frank message from Courts Minister Rick Barker.

"If you don't pay, you'll lose your car."

Mr Barker's warning is targeted at the approximately 50,000 young men aged 20 to 30 who owe in the region of $150 million of overdue reparation and fines.

"This demographic represents some of the worst fines payers and reparation defaulters in the country. These young men seem incapable of owning up to their fines so we're going to hit them where it hurts the most.

"Cars are a status symbol and essential to a young persons lifestyle, but the Justice Ministry's new campaign will give them food for thought. If you fail to pay overdue fines, your car will be seized to pay the outstanding amount."

To keep the pressure on recidivist fines defaulters, the Justice Ministry's new ad campaign promises those people instant membership of the 'Confiscated Car Club', a fictional club made up of people who have had their car seized for non-payment of fines.

Potential "club" members will also receive loads of messages and friendly reminders of their special status through regular radio advertisements and signs on buses and at bus shelters.

"We're taking our message to the streets where our target group is. By using buses as mobile billboards, we hope to strike a nerve and help turn the tide on fines defaulters," Mr Barker said.

Another key message of the campaign: 'A new member every hour', with a picture of a tow-truck, underlined the fact that this was a real consequence of ignoring fines.

The greatest proportion of overdue fines are for driving and vehicle licence offences, but enforcement will also target unpaid Court-ordered reparation owed to victims.

Young men aged 20 to 30 owe around half of overdue reparation by value and make up half of all those owing it

The advertising will run for two weeks before an intensive one month physical enforcement campaign begins throughout the country on 1 March.

"Collections officers will be out and about in towns and cities all over New Zealand, following up on the warnings given through the advertising.

"Enforcement will target all overdue reparation and fines defaulters, but the advertising target group of young men will feature significantly because they represent around a third of total fines defaulters," Mr Barker said.

While the new campaign had a humorous message, Mr Barker said the Justice Ministry was serious about collecting overdue fines, particularly reparation owed to victims.

"The message to fines defaulters is clear. Pay up soon, or you could be joining the 'Confiscated Car Club'."

People can check if they have a fine or arrange to pay one by calling 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637) or by visiting Fines Online at www.fines.govt.nz


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