Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Over 860 have their convictions wiped

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861 people had 2382 convictions concealed under the act between January and November.
861 people had 2382 convictions concealed under the act between January and November.

More than 860 Northland people had convictions concealed under the Clean Slate Act last year.

Ministry of Justice data show 861 people had 2382 convictions concealed under the act between January and November, with more than 6000 having their convictions concealed since the legislation was introduced in 2004.

The Clean Slate Act was designed to allow people with less serious convictions to put their past behind them if they had been conviction-free for at least seven years, had not been sentenced to imprisonment and met other criteria.

Commonly concealed convictions in Northland were dangerous or negligent acts, theft and traffic offences, according to the ministry.

The Clean Slate Act applies to employment and any other situation where an individual is asked about their criminal record.

Tanya Gray, director of Recruit NZ, which provides recruitment for Northland businesses said honesty and transparency were ideal but could impact on people securing employment and having a chance.

"Lots of people have got baggage, unfortunately, because they've made silly mistakes."

She said it wasn't up to Recruit NZ to judge people but to do what clients requested. The organisation considered each individual based on what clients were looking for. It worked with businesses that were open to people who'd had convictions in the past and others who wouldn't consider it.

"We just do what's right for our clients," said Ms Gray.

Ministry figures showed 6358 Northland people had their convictions concealed since the act was introduced in 2004.

Nationwide, 29,973 people were eligible to have 76,775 convictions concealed under the act between January and November last year.

The most concealed convictions were dangerous and negligent acts, public order offences and traffic offences.

Ministry of Justice general manager, district courts Tony Fisher said a person meeting the criteria to have their convictions concealed did not have to apply for a clean slate. The scheme was applied by the ministry when an application was made for a copy of their criminal record.

The Ministry's Criminal Records Unit processed about 450,000 requests every year. Since the act was introduced in 2004, 220,598 had been eligible to have convictions concealed.

There was no central register of the people meeting the criteria at any one time.

A person would lose eligibility to have their convictions concealed if convicted of a further offence, and their record would show previously concealed convictions as well as their most recent convictions.

- Northern Advocate

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