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Op-Ed: Stephen Franks - Your Slate is Clean

Op-Ed: Stephen Franks - Your Slate is Clean

Tuesday, 24 May

Your Slate is Clean
By Stephen Franks

Tuesday, 24 May 2005

Who me? A criminal record? Nope.

Since May 2004 the government's new Clean Slate Act has hidden the criminal records of over 500,000 New Zealanders.

However criminals don't have to apply for a clean slate.

No. It is automatic. The government automatically conceals the criminal past of offenders after seven years of not being caught.

The obvious pointer to future offending is past offending, especially multiple past offending, and one of the best incentives to stay straight is concern about your reputation, and the reputation of your family or iwi. So if your past offending is concealed by the government then criminals are encouraged to lie about their past law breaking.

Young offenders need not worry about their reputations.

Those who employ people in positions of trust are not allowed to know of their past history. This law isn't about giving second chances. It is about nine, ten or fifteen second chances. Most New Zealanders who know about one or two long past offences will as a matter of course give offenders a second chance.

But this Bill is about forcing forgiveness, not because of compassion, or being satisfied that the past is the past, but through compulsory ignorance.

This law will not work. It will hurt people who might expect help from it.

We are your vocal watchdogs in this time of pussyfooting on crime.

Give your Party Vote to ACT.

If you think that we should be able to find out about a persons criminal record before employing or trusting them, then send me your views to me in an email.


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