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New Call Centre will boost fines collections

New Call Centre will boost fines collections, says Minister

"The combination of an increase in dedicated staff, sophisticated technology and a modern new location should have those with overdue fines worried", Courts Minister Margaret Wilson said in opening the Department for Courts' new Wellington Collections Call Centre today.

The upgraded facility is the first part of a staged approach to expanding Collections' call centre capacity and will be complemented in the future by another call centre in an upper North Island location, which will be up and running by January 2004.

"Since the Department for Courts established the Call Centre in 1997 it has proved to be a very cost-effective means of collecting fines," Margaret Wilson said. "Using data-matching to establish the addresses and phone numbers of fines defaulters enables Call Centre staff to make contact to remind them they have fines and can avoid both enforcement fees and enforcement action by paying on time."

While the Call Centre focuses on collecting fines, district units will be able to concentrate on encouraging fines compliance by way of hands-on enforcement of fines and through public education.

"Another important part of the expansion plan is a focus on victims, with the establishment of a dedicated line that will enable those owed reparation to enquire about the status of payments," said Margaret Wilson.

"Those who refuse to pay their fines, after being given opportunities to do so, can expect a visit from a Collections Officer with the power to clamp vehicles and seize property if fines are not paid.

"The Call Centre and field units, working together, will reinforce the credibility of the fines as a justice sanction."

The Call Centre expansion is projected to increase cash collected over 10 years by $211 million, Margaret Wilson said.

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