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Fines system overhaul needed urgently

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

6 March 2006

Fines system overhaul needed urgently

Too many people are getting away without paying their fines on time, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Courts figures released to him in reply to a written parliamentary question show there were 128,257 people or organisations paying their fines under time payment arrangements as at 31 December 2005. They owed close to $278 million – an average of more than $2,000 each – 44% of the $637 million total fines outstanding in 2005.

“That is a lot of money and a lot people who owe money for fines,” says Mr Power. “It’s more than the population of Dunedin on fines time payment.

“In the Briefing to the Incoming Minister after the election, Courts Minister Rick Barker was given the opportunity to put a review of the fines system as a priority for 2005/06 – let’s hope he has chosen to do so.

“But even if that is the case, the timetable in the briefing shows that legislation to reform the system will not be drafted till February 2008, with law not likely till December 2008.

“The system needs overhauling urgently before it becomes even further bogged down. Three years down the track is way too far away. I can only imagine what the mess will be like then,” says Mr Power.

ENDS

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