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Labour writes off record amount of fines

Simon Power MP
National Party Law & Order Spokesman

13 October 2006

Labour writes off record amount of fines, reparation

The Labour Government last year wrote off more fines and reparation than any Government in recent history, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

He is releasing figures which show that in the 2005/06 year the Government wrote off $45 million in fines, an increase of 50% from $30 million in 2001/02, and $1.597 million in reparation, an increase of 98% from $805,000 in 2002/03.

"These figures are an appalling indictment on this Government.

"To write off double the amount of reparations means the victims of crime will suffer even more because of this Government's inability to ensure people pay for their crimes.

"These figures are even worse than were forecast three-quarters of the way through the year.

"They also show that under this Government the amount of fines overdue increased by a massive $74 million, from $306 million in 2002/03 to $380 million in the past year, and that the amount of reparations overdue increased by 20%, from $22.9 million in 2002/03 to $27.5 million in 2005/06.

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

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

"They have limited options to deal with people who come before the courts time and time again. They can either issue further fines or wipe the fines and sentence them to community service or jail.

"With the prison muster crisis, putting them inside just adds pressure to other parts of the system.

"If Labour does not move to urgently overhaul the system and start enforcing the payment of fines and reparation, our justice system will become a joke."

ENDS

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