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Nandor wins justice for 1/2 million New Zealanders

Nandor wins justice for half a million New Zealanders

The Greens are celebrating the coming into effect of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act, which will enable half a million law abiding New Zealanders to put their past minor convictions behind them.

“This law means that people who made a mistake when they were young don’t have to suffer for the rest of their lives,” Green Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said.

“New Zealanders had just assumed that, like most other countries, we had some sort of clean slate legislation already in place. Now, we finally do.

“The Justice Ministry estimates the Act will allow half a million Kiwis to clean their slates. I have received countless letters from people still disadvantaged by some minor wrongdoing of theirs decades ago, asking when this Act will come into effect. Today is that day.”

The Act means that, with a few exceptions, people can have their convictions concealed so long as they have never received a custodial sentence and they have gone seven years without any further convictions.

“I am delighted that the Government has seen the light and followed a Green Party initiative on this issue. The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act is very similar to, and a direct consequence of, the Clean Slate Bill I introduced to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill in 2001.

“It is gratifying that Justice Minister Phil Goff has taken my Bill’s name and most of its content. I hope he will borrow more Green ideas in this area.”

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Nandor noted that similar schemes had proved successful in Britain, Australia, and other nations. “This is a very moderate piece of law in the international context. It is ridiculous that pensioners would still carry the burden of shoplifting convictions from their teens, and this Act ensures that they can finally sleep easy.

“This is all about helping people who are truly rehabilitated to overcome their past and to provide incentives for not reoffending. Seven years is long enough to carry the criminal stigma for a minor offence.”

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