DJ Mikey Havoc has a debt to society - and is paying it off the same way he makes his living.

The former Push Push rocker, now a 95bFM morning DJ, amassed at least $20,000 in traffic fines over a number of years.

To clear the debt, Havoc - whose real name is Michael Roberts - asked the Waitakere District Court to convert the fines into community work.

The system allows people to carry out between 40 and 400 hours of work instead. The Department of Corrections website describes it as allowing "offenders [to] make compensation to society for their offending".

Havoc confirmed he had arranged to clear the debt through work: "Shifting shit around and doing stuff other people can't be f***ed doing".

However, the Herald on Sunday has learned that Havoc's punishment is remarkably similar to the work he does on radio in the morning - spinning records for students.

The Corrections Department said it would review that sentence this week, after it was brought to its attention.

Criminologist Greg Newbold said the practice of the courts converting fines into community work was an "easy way out".

Havoc does the breakfast shift on 95bFM from the second floor of the Auckland University Student Association building. Then, according to AUSA general manager Tom O'Connor, Havoc works off his fines by playing music for students on campus - in the quad outside the radio studios.

O'Connor said the student association normally hired DJs to play for three hours over lunch for about $150.

"He is working as a DJ in the main quad, working for us free."

He said the arrangement was possible after the AUSA became an officially recognised agency with the Department of Corrections. The association was approached by the department and did not make the initial approach.

The arrangement appears to skirt rules established by Corrections, which state: "An offender should not be placed with an agency for whom they already work".

Havoc does not work directly for the student association but 95bFM is owned by AUSA.

Yesterday, Auckland area community probation manager Colin Rose said: "We are unable to confirm whether a conflict of interest between the offender's employer and community work sponsor was known, but we will review it."

The revelation is another blow for Havoc, who this year split up with his actress wife Claire Chitham.

Havoc was uneasy talking about the fines, saying it had been a struggle dealing with the large debt.

He would not confirm the amount involved but, when told another offender had $70,000 wiped, said that was "three times as much as me".

Havoc said the fines had, in part, accrued with difficulties finding parking around the university. Even when parking was paid, the cost was onerous.

"At one stage it was costing me more to park a week than I was getting paid."

Lawyer Karen Harding said, "If someone can't pay the fine it's better to convert it to community work because that's something productive."

She said people in the scheme were able to make positive contributions and change attitudes.

- HERALD ON SUNDAY