Tauranga courts have collected more than $670,000 in offender levies since the measure was introduced by the Ministry of Justice in June 2010, but $162,840 worth of levies remain outstanding, new figures show.

The offender levy requires all convicted offenders to pay $50 towards services for victims of serious crimes.

As of December 2014, $162,840 in offender levies were outstanding in Tauranga.

Sensible Sentencing Trust Tauranga spokesman Ken Evans said the trust very much favoured any support for victims, but more was needed to bring the amount of crime down in the first place.

Advertisement

"It's great victims are being recognised and assisted to get rehabilitated, but the amount of money is quite amazing," he said.

"I think the community will be amazed at the amount of crime that's taken place to get those sort of returns.

"A huge amount of work needs to be done to reduce crime, which will reduce that money and the need for that money."

Nationally, more than $16.5 million has been collected in offender levies in the past four financial years.

Seventy eight per cent of offender levies had been paid as of December last year.

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Amy Adams said factors such as reparation needing to be paid first and offenders being in prison contributed to the outstanding fees.

The Government said last week the levy helped ease some of the financial and emotional pressures victims suffered as a result of crime.

However, father of murder victim Sophie Elliott, Gil Elliott, said the levy was a pretence as the Government appeared to take a hard line on offenders.

Advertisement

Mr Elliott, also a spokesman for the Sensible Sentencing Trust, said the levy was "supposed to punish offenders and be good for victims".

However, he understood the offender levy was not being paid, and "the Government is pretending to be penalising offenders".

The ministry said it was not in a position to respond to allegations offenders were not paying levies.

Mr Elliott said levies should come from general taxation, as "there's definitely going to be people who won't pay it, despite what the Government says".

The levies contribute to services and grants through ACC and Victim Support, rather than the ministry providing money directly to victims of crimes.

A single levy is imposed at each sentencing, irrespective of the number of offences.

Offender levies cannot be collected from prisoners, but they would be required to pay on release.

Notice of the offender levy is posted at the door to all courtrooms around the country.

The ministry said the money would be used to fund eight additional entitlements and services for victims of serious crime, including an enhanced homicide support service.

The service would provide four paid homicide support co-ordinators to work with Victim Support's volunteer network, and an increase from $1500 to $5000 in discretionary grants for families of homicide victims suffering financial difficulties.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said the Government would continue to focus on developing a stronger response to family violence and strengthening efforts over the next three years to better support victims.

"The offender levy ensures offenders contribute to addressing the harm their offending has caused," she said.