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Labour writes off record fines & reparations

Simon Power
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

9 July 2006

Labour writes off record amount in fines, reparation

Helen Clark’s Government is writing off more fines and reparation than any New Zealand Government in recent history, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures which show that in the first nine months of 2005/06 the Government wrote off $32 million in fines and $982,000 in reparation.

“If that trend continues, and $42.6 million of fines and $1.3 million in reparation is written off in the full year, it will be the worst performance by any government.

“The figures also show that under this Government there could be $494 million in overdue fines in the year just gone – an amazing blowout of $150 million over 2004/05.”

The figures show that as at March 31 there were $371 million in fines overdue and $27 million in reparations, and $268 million in fines on time payment and $28 million in reparations.

“The worst thing about the record amounts of reparation being written off and overdue is that it is the victims of crime who will suffer because of this Government’s inability to ensure people pay for their crimes.

“People are getting away without being properly punished because the Government has let the system become overloaded.

“Judges are wiping payments because they know they will not be paid.

“We know the system is failing when it allows people to accumulate fines like the $96,000 owed by one Dunedin man.

“People like him are coming before the courts time and again, with judges faced with limited options. They can either issue further fines or wipe the fines and sentence them to community service or jail.

“But community service is ineffective because it is not adequately policed. And, with the prison muster crisis, putting them inside just adds pressure to other parts of the system.

“If we don’t start enforcing punishments, our justice system will become a joke. Labour must overhaul the system before it gets worse.”

Ends

Attachments: Answers to parliamentary questions 7258/9, 7260/1/2/3

Simon Power – parliamentary questions

7258 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of fines that are overdue, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of fines that are overdue for the available (1) financial years 2001/02 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2001/02 $ 334 m 79%
2002/03 $ 306 m 61%
2003/04 $ 320 m 56%
2004/05 $ 341 m 54%
2005 – March 2006 $ 371 m 54%

7259 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of fines that are on time payment, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of fines that are on time payment for the available (1) financial years 2001/02 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2001/02 $ 62 m 15%
2002/03 $ 162 m 32%
2003/04 $ 213 m 37%
2004/05 $ 249 m 39%
2005 – March 2006 $ 268 m 39%


7260 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of reparations that are overdue, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of reparations that are overdue for the available (1) financial years 2001/02 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2001/02 $ 31 m 70%
2002/03 $ 22 m 46%
2003/04 $ 23 m 44%
2004/05 $ 26 m 43%
2005 – March 2006 $ 27 m 44%


7261 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of reparations that are on time payment, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of reparations that are on time payment for the available financial years 2002/03 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2002/03 $ 21 m 45%
2003/04 $ 24 m 45%
2004/05 $ 27 m 45%
2005 – March 2006 $ 28 m 46%

7262 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of fines that have been remitted or written down, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of fines that have been remitted for the available (1) financial years 2001/02 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2001/02 $ 30 m 5%
2002/03 $ 32 m 5%
2003/04 $ 37m 5%
2004/05 $ 42 m 5%
2005 – March 2006 $ 32 m 4%

7263 (2006). Simon Power to the Minister for Courts (19 June 2006):
What is the proportion and value of reparations that have been remitted or written down, for each year for which information is available?
Hon Rick Barker (Minister for Courts) replied: The following table presents the proportion and value of reparations that have been remitted for the available (1) financial years 2002/03 to 2005 – March 2006.

Financial Year Value $m Proportion %
2002/03 $ 0.805 m 1.3%
2003/04 $ 1.099 m 1.6%
2004/05 $ 0.747 m 1.0%
2005 – March 2006 $ 0.982 m 1.3%


(1) - For consistency of analysis, the financial years provided are those covered by COLLECT, the Ministry's fines database.

ENDS

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