Northland law courts have collected more than $875,000 in offender levies since the measure was imposed by the Ministry of Justice in June 2010.

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

However, the levies have been criticised by the father of murder victim Sophie Elliott, Gil Elliott, who said the Government is pretending to take a hard line with penalising offenders.

Mr Elliott, of Dunedin, 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 yesterday 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 paying providing money directly to victims of crimes.

A single levy is imposed at each sentencing event, irrespective of how many charges a person is being sentenced for. Offender levies cannot be collected from people in prison but prisoners would be required to pay on release.

Figures released by the Ministry shows in the three years to 2014, Northland District courts and the High Court in Whangarei have collected $875,750.

More than $16.6 million was collected throughout the country over the same period. In 2011, the Whangarei District and High Court raked in $110,120, the following year $127,480, in 2013 the courts collected $130,020 and last year's collection was $107,350. The total amount collected in Whangarei courts was $474,970.

A total of $222,610 was paid in the Kaikohe District Court between 2011 and 2014. The figure includes $47,200 in 2011, $53,690 a year later, $65,620 in 2013 and $56,100 last year.

Kaitaia District Court collected $24,090 in 2011, $28,400 in 2012, $33,170 in 2013 and $33,090 last year with a total revenue of $118,750.


Offenders convicted in Dargaville court paid $59,420 over the four-year period.

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 over the next three years, the Government would continue to focus on developing a stronger response to family violence and strengthening efforts to better support victims across the justice sector.

"The offender levy ensures offenders contribute to addressing the harm their offending has caused. It also generates a revenue stream that funds additional services for victims of crime."