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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,000+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill and the Clean Slate Bill

July 2002

1. Contact

We do not wish to appear before the Committee to speak to our Submission. We can, however, be contacted at:

Crispin Garden-Webster,
Vice-President, HRINZ,
C/o Level One,
35 Victoria Street,
Business: 04 499 2964

2. Introduction

The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand is an association of people who are interested or involved in the management and development of people at work.

The Institute's objectives are:

  • to encourage and support the development of professional knowledge and competence and high standards of performance among its members within New Zealand;
  • to promote within New Zealand understanding of all aspects of human resources management and development and its contribution to the performance of individuals and organisations; and
  • to provide within New Zealand an authoritative and influential viewpoint on all matters affecting its members and the management and development of people at work.


  1. The Institute generally supports the overall philosophy of both Bills. Both Bills, in principle, seek to create a balance between two 'rights'. Firstly, the right of an ex-offender, in certain circumstances, to apply for jobs without having to disclose the offence. Secondly, there is the 'right' of employers to select employees with a full appraisal of the employee's past. Given the implied issues of trust in the employer-employee relationship, employers cannot be expected to hire employees upon the basis of caveat emptor.

  2. It is noticed that the exceptions to the provisions of the Bill contained in Clause 15 concentrate on the public sector. It is suggested that there are areas in the private sector, such as banks and security companies and other organisations that have a high level of trust component in their work, for example organisations that care for children and the elderly. Further, There are no provisions relating to local government and the need to protect various aspects of local government activities that have a higher trust factor.

  3. There is a concern that the non-eligibility under the clean slate scheme pursuant to clause 7(b) is too rigid and inflexible. It is suggested that the Select Committee may wish to consider the more tapered approach taken by the UK in their Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. The following table will give an indication of the tapered rehabilitation period that is related to a particular offence:
Sentence when convicted: Rehabilitation Period:
  People aged 18 or over People aged under 17 when convicted
Prison sentences <1> of 6 months or less 7 years 3 1/2 years
Prison sentences <1> of more than 6 months to 2 1/2 years 10 years 5 years
Borstal (abolished in 1983) 7 years 7 years
Detention centres (abolished in 1988) 3 years 3 years
probation, <3>
community service,
combination action plan,
curfew orders,
drug treatment and testing,
and reparation orders
5 years 2 1/2 years
Absolute discharge 6 months 6 months

<1> Including suspended sentences, youth custody (abolished in 1988) and detention in a young offender institution.

<2> Even if subsequently imprisoned for fine default.

<3> For people convicted on or after 3 February 1995 (from which date the rehabilitation period for a probation order was changed under the terms of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).

With some sentences the rehabilitation period varies:

Sentence: Rehabilitation Period:
Probation <1>, supervision, care order, conditional discharge or bind-over 1 year or until the order expires (whichever is longer)
Attendance centre orders 1 year after the order expires
Hospital orders (with or withouta restriction order) 5 years or 2 years after the order expires (whichever is longer)
Referral Order once the order expires

<1> For people convicted before 3 February 1995

  1. Societal implications Whilst HRINZ seeks to concentrate its submission on the substantive and implementation aspects of the Bill, the Select Committee may wish to consider the social implications and the issue of recidivism. Clearly, those who have offended in the past are likely to become offenders again, if it is difficult to find employment. The corollary of this is that those who have, at some time in the past offended, but find employment, are less likely to re-offend.
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