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Great progress on collecting fines

Great progress on collecting fines

Courts Minister Rick Barker said today that the initiatives of the Labour led Government to collect fines and reparation are paying dividends.

"Better resourcing and enhanced enforcement initiatives such as car clamping, the name and shame campaign, and the collection of fines at airports have resulted in more fines being collected than ever before", said Rick Barker.

"Courts have collected $206.9 million in outstanding fines for 2005/06, an increase of 82% on the 2001/02 figure of $113.4million.

"And Courts are getting better at collecting fines. The proportion of fines that were overdue in 2001/02 was 79%, and this has been reduced to 54% in 2005/06.

"In regards to reparation, in 2001/02 $31million of reparations was overdue, or 70% of the total. By 2005/06 this had reduced to $27million in reparations overdue, or 43% of the total.

"After only 6 weeks the collection of fines at airports initiative has already caught 12 reparation and fine dodgers at New Zealand airports and netted nearly $93,000.

"We're also making more use of mechanisms such as attachment orders on pay, time to pay arrangements and vehicle seizure. For instance in 2001/02 there were 41,131 attachments put on people's pay, and this has increased to 203,208 in 2005/06.

"We have introduced a case management approach for individuals or organisations who owe in excess of $50,000. This approach is already showing results, with only sixteen of the 55 individuals or organisations owing over $50,000 in 2004 still owing over this amount.

"Simon Power is wrong when he says the Government is ignoring old fines and reparations. People owing fines or reparations remain on our records and staff will use whatever tools possible to collect their fines.

"It needs to be remembered that some of these people have no known address, have no money, or are in prison. It also needs to be appreciated that the trail gets harder to find once a person has avoided paying hat they owe. For instance a person who avoided paying fines under National Governments in the nineties, will be much harder to find now than back then.

"The results under the Labour led Government speak for themselves - we're collecting more fines than ever and we're getting better at how we collect them. Looking forward, we are currently carrying on an infringement review that will identify ways to continue with this good work", said Rick Barker.

ends

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