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2012/13 another strong year for court collections

Hon Chester Borrows
Minister for Courts

22 August 2013

2012/13 another strong year for court collections

Another strong year for court collections has driven the level of fines and reparations owed to their lowest level in almost a decade, Courts Minister Chester Borrows announced today.

The total of fines and reparations owed currently sits at $564 million, down from a 2009 peak of $806 million.

“A combination of falling crime rates leading to fewer fines being imposed, as well as the range of new tools this Government has introduced to chase fines-dodgers have produced a superb result,” says Mr Borrows.

Mr Borrows highlighted two recent innovations which are delivering significant results.

“Enhanced data matching with Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development has allowed the Ministry of Justice to track down people who would otherwise not pay their fines. Projected to bring in $20 million in 2012/13, it has delivered over $80 million of hard-to-reach fines in the past year.

“Credit check of fines, which enables the Ministry to tell credit reporting agencies if a potential client has overdue fines or reparation in return for updated contact information, has brought in a further $16.7 million.

“These two initiatives allow the Ministry to find people who may not have been aware that they owed fines or who have been completely resistant to paying, and recover money we otherwise might never have brought in.”

From November 2013 the Ministry gains another tool in their arsenal, with the ability to suspend drivers licences if a person has unpaid traffic-related fines or reparation.

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Mr Borrows also pointed to falling levels of overdue debt as a sign that the message that fines must be taken seriously was getting through. The proportion of fines and reparation debt which is overdue has fallen from 53 per cent of debt in 2009 to 43 per cent today.

“It’s very encouraging to see overdue fines falling so rapidly, as the message gets through that you can’t get away with dodging court fines and that taking responsibility is easy, simply phone 0800 4 FINES or visit www.fines.govt.nz.”

Court collections statistics 2008/09 to 2012/13. Imposed and collected figures are for the financial year, while owed and overdue figures are as at the end of each financial year.

2008/092009/102010/112011/122012/13
Fines imposed$358,208,830$333,824,620$278,147,040$260,218,880$242,197,460
Reparation imposed$28,100,420$27,882,710$25,768,450$27,886,470$27,607,700
Fines and reparation collected$240,368,170$254,781,980$251,535,160$222,572,700$224,636,390
Offender levy collectedN/AN/A$3,733,590$4,388,620$4,455,290
Amount owed$806,043,330$746,417,760$666,496,800$615,507,670$564,471,990
Percentage under arrangement or not yet due47%52%52%56%57%

ENDS

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