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Courts debt hits record $602 million

9 March 2005

Hon. Tony Ryall MP National Law and Order spokesman

Courts debt hits record $602 million

National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall, says a record $602 million was owed to the courts in outstanding fines and reparation debt at December 2004. The debt ballooned by $65 million in the past year.

The figures were contained in an answer to a written question to the Minister for Courts, Rick Barker.

The $602 million compares with $538 million outstanding at December 2003, and $324 million in 2000, when Labour was first elected. The $602 million includes $56 million in outstanding reparation payments.

"These figures come only days after it was revealed that more than $40 million in fines have been wiped in the past 12 months,” Mr Ryall says.

“It is clear from the trends that Labour is soft on getting people to pay their debts.

"Since they were first elected, the amount of outstanding debt has increased by an incredible 86%, with no sign of improvement.

"Mr Barker goes on about the success he claims his little campaigns are having on reducing the amount of outstanding fines, but the proof is in his own figures, which show outstanding fines have risen in each of the past four years.

"Who does he think he is kidding?

“Labour is the guilty party here. Much more effort is needed in tracking down defaulters before they accumulate huge debts. For every dollar spent tracking down a defaulter, I am sure the taxpayers and crime victims receive a lot more.

"If Labour got really tough on slow payers there would be a lot of extra money for things like schools or to reduce hospital waiting lists," Mr Ryall says.

ENDS

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