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Clean Slate For Welfare Thief

Clean Slate For Welfare Thief

Thursday 26 Feb 2004 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

Justice Minister Phil Goff's Clean Slate Bill will help fraudsters like Lisa Clement in the future, allowing them to find fresh employers to prey upon, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Clement got her job by hiding her previous dishonesty convictions between 1987 and 1992. The Social Development Ministry could have checked if it had insisted on ID, and the convictions would have been disclosed," Mr Franks said.

"Under Mr Goff's law - due to be passed next week - Clements would have been perfectly entitled to hide her previous convictions. Any employer who tried to get behind her denial of convictions would have been committing an offence and liable for a $10,000 fine.

"The Minister's new law tells people to lie about convictions more than seven years old as long as they did not result in imprisonment. Clement appears to have received the usual soft punishments for dishonesty offences and had not spent time in prison for them - she would have been one of those our Government is now telling to lie about her past.

"Clement will probably get prison this time. While this means she won't have the Minister's tender encouragement next time, other learner Lisa Clements will.

"The average Kiwi criminal has usually had nine convictions before they first go to jail. Labour's instruction to lie about a record - and the penalties for investigating or disclosing - will benefit most of our young thieves and liars," Mr Franks said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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