Almost 300 had slate wiped last year

By Kim Fulton -
OFF THE RECORDS: A total of 283 Wairarapa residents had criminal conviction records "cleaned" last year.
OFF THE RECORDS: A total of 283 Wairarapa residents had criminal conviction records "cleaned" last year.

MORE than 280 Wairarapa people had convictions concealed under the Clean Slate Act last year.

Ministry of Justice data shows 283 people had 840 convictions concealed under provisions of the act between January and November.

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 Wairarapa 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 a criminal record.

Drake client relationship manager Ali Williams said, as a recruiter, she always preferred to know about a candidate's past convictions.

It helped to build a picture of their experiences and how they had overcome challenges in life.

Candidates were asked to provide details of their convictions on their registration forms, and were checked for previous convictions.

Whether an employer would take on someone with a conviction depended on the policy of the particular organisation, said Ms Williams.

Driving convictions were often forgiven, but violence or fraud were not. However, many candidates with criminal convictions were taken on by local employers, she said.

Ministry figures showed 1882 Wairarapa 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 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.

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