Over the past five years New Zealand Police have paid out more than $1 million in rewards for information on crimes.

Statistics released to the Herald under the Official Information Act show that between 2012 and 2016, a total of $1,097,131 was paid out to informants.

Of those payouts, $136,502 was paid out in the last financial year. That is the smallest total figure for the past five financial years.

Of that five-year timeframe, the highest-paying year was 2013, with a total of $301,772 paid out for information on crimes in New Zealand.


Acting Detective Inspector Reece Sirl told the Herald police received information from members of the public in regards to a wide range of criminal offending, such as burglary, homicide, dishonesty and drug dealing.

Police offered $50,000 for information on the whereabouts of Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours.
Police offered $50,000 for information on the whereabouts of Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours.

Police released the total amount of money paid out in rewards for each year between 2012 and 2016 but said it would be a breach of the privacy to provide any further information on the top reward payments and the crimes they were associated with.

Known cases with rewards within those five years included the disappearance of Nelson teenager Leo Lipp-Neighbours.

A $50,000 reward for information on his disappearance was offered in 2011. His body was found six years later, in April 2017, submerged in the Nelson harbour.

In 2013, police hoped a $50,000 reward would help solve the cold case of Luana Williams who disappeared in Tauranga in 1986. The case remains unsolved.

In September that year, a $20,000 reward was offered to find missing Otago man Simon Garrick who was last seen in October 2012. His body was found a year later in a caravan in Cromwell.

One of the most recent reward offers took place between May and June of this year, when police sought information about stolen goods that come from aggravated robberies as part of the "There's nothing good about stolen goods" campaign.

Such rewards are offered through the independent charity Crimestoppers.

The Crimestoppers website states, "Crimestoppers will occasionally post a reward for information that helps resolve a case or leads to an arrest. We pay rewards anonymously."

In order to be eligible for a reward you need to receive an identification code when you call Crimestoppers with information on a crime.

"If you are interested in collecting a reward, you will be asked to contact us again at a later date, to find out if the information you have given has led to somebody being arrested and charged or a case being resolved," the website states.

Once a suspect has been charged, the amount of the reward is decided upon by the chairman of the Crimestoppers Board.

The biggest known reward was $200,000, which was paid out to thieves who stole military medals from the Waiouru Army Museum in 2007, and later returned them. The money was put up by British medals collector Lord Michael Ashcroft and an anonymous New Zealand businessman.

An earlier Official Information Act request received by the Herald in 2008 detailed that police had offered $800,000 in reward money between 2003 and 2007, but of that money none had been paid out.