Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Sex-abuse law faces hurdle

Bill extends supervision for most serious offenders but it may rely on Labour to pass it.

Labour's Corrections spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said Anne Tolley, above, had briefed her on the legislation. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour's Corrections spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said Anne Tolley, above, had briefed her on the legislation. Photo / Mark Mitchell

A law change to ensure paedophiles convicted of the most serious crimes are not released back on to the streets without monitoring from next year could rely on a future Labour government to push it through.

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has introduced a bill to allow 10-year extended supervision orders to be renewed by the courts. The orders allow the Department of Corrections to monitor child sex offenders after their sentence is completed.

Those imposed on the first batch of child sex abusers in 2004 are due to expire next year. The department has estimated about six of the most serious offenders will need the orders renewed every year.

Ms Tolley said she had support from United Future and Act for the bill, which will also allow the orders to be laid against serious violent offenders and sex offenders against adults. Labour has said it will support it at its first stage and will decide after public submissions whether to support it further.

Ms Tolley confirmed there was not enough time to pass it before the election. That means if Labour wins the election it will have to pass it before January to ensure some of those orders, which are for a maximum 10-year period, do not expire.

Labour's Corrections spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said Ms Tolley had briefed her on the legislation but Labour wanted to listen to submissions before deciding whether to support it into law.

She said if it did decide to continue to support it it would pick it up if it was in government.

"It was Labour who originally assessed it was necessary in some very particular cases for the safety of the community to enable that to happen and I imagine the evidence will suggest that is still the case. But we want to make sure we hear whether that is the case first."

The extended supervision orders were first introduced under the former Labour Government in 2004 by Phil Goff because the sentence given to convicted paedophile Lloyd McIntosh was due to end and he was considered at extreme risk of re-offending. McIntosh has lived under constant watch since then, mostly on prison grounds.

Ms Tolley said there were also others due to expire from January. "There are fewer than 10 but they are highly dangerous and in all conscience we can't just let them go back into the community."

There are about 242 child sex offenders subject to the orders.

Those on the most intensive form of supervision cost about $300,000 a year each, but the average cost is $27,000.

Extended Supervision Orders Bill
*Allows court to impose further 10-year terms on serious offenders considered likely to reoffend after sentence ends.
*Expands scheme to apply to sex offenders against adults and serious violent offenders.
*Possible conditions include restricting offenders to a certain residence, including prison grounds, or monitoring them through GPS tracking.

- NZ Herald

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