Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill

NZPA | Mon April 6th, 2009

This Bill is likely to be effective at raising additional revenue from convicted offenders. It will achieve this aim by ensuring the Offender Levy is applied to all convicted offenders, regardless of the nature, number or seriousness of their offences.

However, those guilty of the worst crimes, being those that typically generate the greatest concern about victim impact, are likely to continue to evade any meaningful financial obligation to their victims.

Because of the flat rate and general nature of the Offender Levy, it seems unlikely to have any real psychological impact on offenders in terms of encouraging them to accept responsibility for their actions or develop empathy for the victim.

The additional revenue generated by the Offender Levy will be available to Government to purchase additional victims’ services. However, we believe the Bill needs to be clarified in respect of the sort of ‘support’ for victims that is envisaged, so that victim expectations are not unfairly raised (e.g., by mistakenly believing the Levy will be used to pay them compensation). See submission for further details.

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