Govt advancing bill to track high-risk paedophiles.

The Government is pressing on with changes to allow ex-prisoners to be monitored for the rest of their lives despite advice from officials that the new laws will breach fundamental human rights.

Parliament has been warned that extended supervision orders could punish a person twice for the same crime by allowing them to face restrictions such as GPS monitoring even after they had served their time in jail.

The Government wants the special orders to be extended to a broader group of offenders and for the maximum 10-year time limit to be abolished.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson vetted the legislation and found it was inconsistent with Bill of Rights provisions which protected against retroactive penalties and double jeopardy.

Advertisement

His report was backed by the New Zealand Law Society, which said these rights were "fundamental constitutional safeguards" which should not be "eroded through incremental amendment".

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-liga defended the expansion of the orders, telling the Herald the proposed changes "carefully balanced" the need to protect people from serious offending and the rights of offenders.

MPs will debate the bill when Parliament resumes this month and it is expected to get cross-party support. The Government is determined to get the bill passed this year so it can continue to closely monitor 25 high-risk paedophiles whose 10-year orders will run out next year.

Labour MP Phil Goff said he was "worried" about the human rights implications but he was confident the orders would be preventive measures and not used punitively. He knew some of the high-risk paedophiles from his time as Justice Minister and said they had low IQ and low self-control and were a significant risk to children.

A select committee last week recommended the bill should be passed into law.

MPs on the committee said they did not "breach the [Bill of Rights Act] lightly", but a decade's experience with extended supervision showed it was an effective tool for protecting the community.

"Some, but not all, offenders at the end of extended supervision orders have requested that the orders be continued to protect the community and also themselves."

Safeguards included two-yearly reviews by the Parole Board and five-yearly reviews by a judge.

The orders currently last up to 10 years and apply only to high-risk child sex offenders. Once the bill is passed, they could be applied to all sex and high-risk violent offenders. A judge would be able to renew an order as many times as deemed necessary.

Sex case monitors


Extended supervision order

Can be issued by the courts if a child sex offender is still deemed high-risk at the end of their sentence. Parole Board sets special conditions such as GPS monitoring for up to 10 years. Applied to 225 ex-prisoners, including child rapist Lloyd McIntosh. Could soon be extended to a broader group of offenders for an indefinite period.

Public protection order
Allows authorities to recall a person to prison once their sentence is finished if they are at very high risk of reoffending. Designed to capture a dozen offenders who were sentenced before preventive detention was introduced, including "Beast of Blenheim" Stewart Murray Wilson. Legislation before Parliament.

Preventive detention
An indeterminate jail sentence for offenders who pose "a significant and ongoing risk" to public safety. Seen as a last resort for the worst sexual and violent offenders such as Northland teacher James Parker, who was found guilty of more than 300 child sex offences last year. About 280 inmates are serving a preventive sentence.