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Labour to wipe $49 million in fines

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

14 June 2006

Labour to wipe $49 million in fines

Tens of millions of dollars in fines are being wiped because the Government has let the collection system fail, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

Information tabled and released from the Law and Order Select Committee today show:

• The amount of fines to be remitted and written down is projected to increase by $6 million, from $43 million in the year to 30 June 2006 to $49 million in the coming financial year.
• The total owing in fines has increased by 63%, from $420 million in the year to 30 June 2002 to $684 million in the nine months to 31 March 2006.
• The average amount of fines outstanding per offender has increased by 22%, from $1,156 in the year to 30 June 2004 to $1,416 in the nine months to 31 March 2006.
• The amount owing in reparations to victims has increased by 40%, from $44 million in the year to 30 June 2002 to $61 million in the nine months to 31 March 2006.

“The system is clearly not working, and judges are having to wipe more fines because they know they will not be paid. The fact that the amount of remittals and write-downs is expected to increase shows that this Labour-led Government is giving up chasing offenders.

“And, as that becomes more and more apparent, more offenders will learn there are no consequences for their actions.

“Fines are an important part of the justice penalty system and the public has an expectation that they will be paid.

“This Government must take full blame for the millions of dollars being wiped or remaining outstanding, and it must overhaul the system before it gets worse.”

Footnote: Answers were to supplementary written questions from the Law and Order Select Committee to the Ministry of Justice regarding budget estimates for Vote Courts.


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