More than 570 Rotorua people had convictions concealed under the Clean Slate Act last year.

Ministry of Justice data shows 574 people had 1397 convictions concealed under the act between January and November.

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

The most commonly concealed convictions in Rotorua were dangerous or negligent acts, theft and traffic offences, according to the ministry.

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

Rotorua lawyer Tim Barclay said he supported the Clean Slate Act but thought it was a little bit too restrictive.

Convictions received at young ages could blight futures, he said.

"There are people who haven't offended for many years, who are still having to carry the burden of youthful convictions."

Mr Barclay thought the rules could be loosened for those people.

The act didn't apply to people who had served a prison sentence and Mr Barclay said that restriction could be loosened a bit too.

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Mr Barclay said convictions harmed reformed people's employment prospects. The alternative for them was welfare.

However, he thought serious dishonesty convictions should be disclosed as this could be a permanent problem.

Talent ID Recruitment director Kellie Hamlett said the agency would prefer its candidates were honest in disclosing all prior criminal convictions.

The agency assessed the suitability of candidates on behalf of clients, so it was important to pass on all information to the client.

Whether it would take on someone with a criminal record depended entirely on the role applied for and the nature of the conviction, said Ms Hamlett.

"Many of our candidates do have what we could class as minor convictions and they are fully disclosed at the time of interview. Often these candidates are successfully placed."

The agency passed on all information to its client, who then made the decision, taking into account any potential risk.

Ministry figures showed 4597 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.

A person would lose eligibility to have their convictions concealed if convicted of a further offence.