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Sex Offender Register Bill Progresses

A bill proposing a child sex offenders register has been sent to select committee with general support despite some MPs expressing concerns.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill addressed a serious problem in New Zealand and while many sex offenders were imprisoned when left prison they lost contact with authorities. The register would ensure responsible agencies have information about registered sex offenders when they are no longer under the supervision of the department of corrections.

The bill would require stringent reporting requirements on registered sex offenders with non-compliance punishable by prison sentences. It allows agencies to share information about sex offenders. Information on the register would not be publicly available though some could be shared with a parent, guardian or teacher if a person was considered to be a risk to a child.

The Attorney-General has said the bill does not comply with the Bill of Rights, but Mrs Tolley said she disagreed.

Labour’s Jacinda Ardern said there was consensus around the House about the need to protect children, but said there were other simpler things the Government could be doing rather than this bill. Labour would support the bill to select committee.

A number of MPs expressed concern about the BORA aspects and how the register would be funded as well concerns about the register becoming public.

The bill completed its first reading and was referred to the Social Services Committee with Opposition MPs expressing surprise it was not going to the Law and Order Committee or the Justice Committee.

MPs began the first reading of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Amendment Bill.

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