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Pay or Stay Campaign Takes Off

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts
Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Customs

28 September 2006
Media Release

Pay or Stay Campaign Takes Off

Today's 'go-live' of the Collections of Fines at Airports initiative is a loud and clear message to fine and reparation evaders, Courts Minister Rick Barker said at today's launch of the campaign at the Christchurch International Airport.

"Just because you may have dodged the bailiff at home, doesn't mean you'll dodge the border agency when you leave New Zealand", said Rick Barker.

“From today people who evade paying their fines or who default on reparation payments due to victims of crime may find the departure gate closed.

"As a result of legislation passed earlier this year we can now stop people traveling internationally if they have a warrant for arrest and owe reparation of any amount or have more than $5000 in fines to pay.

"People will still be able to travel if they pay up on the spot and everyone will be given that opportunity. To avoid being stopped at the airport the best thing to do is simply to ensure you have no major unpaid fines before you pack your bags", said Rick Barker.

Customs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the new initiative reflected Customs' commitment to an integrated border management approach.

"By working together and sharing information, government agencies like Customs, the Ministry of Justice and Police, can achieve better results for the public and for New Zealand.

"The Labour-led Government is committed to cooperation and collaboration between agencies and this is an excellent example of this whole-of-government approach in action," Nanaia Mahuta said.

Rick Barker says that a key purpose of the Pay or Stay campaign is to point people to available options for early payment and promoting that information to travellers and travel agents.

A 0800 number and website have been set up to facilitate the payments process for travellers who are about to take an overseas trip. The phone number is 0800 PAYORSTAY (0800 729 677) and should be used if a person intends to travel within the next 48 hours. For more information visit: www.payorstay.govt.nz

ENDS

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