The Government's bill allowing police to take DNA samples off all people charged with an imprisonable offence will have to be phased in in two stages, says Justice Minister Simon Power.
The phasing would allow Environmental Science and Research to adjust to the increased workload from the new regime, he said yesterday.
"What we will probably do is look at legislation that will expand the group of offences at a first instance, and then 12 or 14 months down the track completely capture all those offences. It is just a capacity issue really."'
Mr Power visited ESR last week to discuss the matter.
The legislation is among a group of law and order bills that will be introduced in the first two weeks of Parliament, which resumes tomorrow.
The next two weeks of Parliament will be the last chance the new National Government has to pass bills that are part of its first-100-days programme of priorities, which it campaigned strongly on.
At present samples can be taken from people convicted of an offence but the Criminal Investigation (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill lowers the bar further to people charged with an imprisonable offence.
The samples would be destroyed if the accused was found not guilty or if the charges were dropped.
"It has got to be a tool for assisting the police as well as a tool for determining innocence," Mr Power said.
Before the House rose for Christmas, the new Government passed two law and order bills: one making it harder to get bail and one increasing the sentences for crimes against children.
A bill allowing police to issue on-the-spot protection orders as a tool to handle domestic violence was sent to a select committee.
Mr Power said the estimate of increased prisoner numbers as a result of the policies was still around 572 and the Government still had plans to build a new prison in the next three years.
* Law and order agenda
Bills for Introduction in the next two weeks:
Gangs and Organised Crime Bill
Will extend police surveillance powers on gangs; give local government more power to remove gang fortification; make gang membership an aggravating factor in sentencing.
The Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill
Will allow the sentence of life without parole for convicted murderers who have previously served a sentence of five years or more for a violent offence; and give court the option of sentencing the worst murderers to life without the possibility of release.
The Criminal Investigation (Bodily Samples) Amendment Bill
Will allow the police to take a DNA sample from anybody charged with an imprisonable offence, the sample to be destroyed if charges are dropped or the accused is not convicted.
Will establish the 12-month bootcamp style Freshstart programmes, up to 12 months for serious young offenders, double Youth Court sentences from three months to six months and extend Youth Court jurisdiction to 12 and 13 year olds.
The Sentencing (Offender Levy) Amendment Bill
Sets a $50 levy on every person convicted of a crime which will go towards compensating victims of crime for expenses such as travel to court cases and parole hearings.