Nandor’s Clean Slate Bill Would Have Worked
The Criminal Record (Clean Slate) Bill (CSB), initially proposed by Green MP Nandor Tanczos, would wipe minor convictions from the public record after seven years of non-offending.
What's currently proposed however is not a clean slate because nothing is expunged. Since it's about concealing records of minor offences, a more honest name would be 'The Criminal Records (Concealment) Bill'.
The Bill sets a dangerous precedent by assuming there is benefit in concealing wrongdoing rather than having everything out in the open. It would appear to have the consequence of putting an offender on the same level as someone who hasn't broken the law through encouraging trust in that offender by either an individual or the public, that is unwarranted and possibly dangerous. Another consequence will be to further undermine the community-honoured values of trust and honesty, by encouraging exactly the opposite. Legalising such dishonest practises has potentially dangerous consequences for employers, associates and any member of the public who interacts in good faith with the offender. Like so much legislation, the CSB appears compassionate but it actually opens the door to worse problems than the one it is trying to solve by placing criminals’ rights above those of the public, who become potential victims. These decisions must be made by the public because it is us, more than the politicians, who will ultimately be affected by them. If you agree with making Referrendums on such issues legally binding on Government, please register your support in the petition at www.votersvoice.org.nz
Carl McIntyre – Palmerston North, NZ