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Criminal & traffic law

The clean slate scheme


What is the clean slate scheme?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, ss 6, 14

The clean slate scheme allows some people the right, in some circumstances, to withhold information about their criminal convictions. It means that when an eligible person is asked about their criminal record, they can say they have no criminal record. This scheme doesn’t completely delete the information (“wipe the slate clean”), but simply allows information to be withheld as if you had no criminal convictions.

When is the clean slate scheme available?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, s 7

To qualify for the clean slate scheme, you must meet all of the following conditions. You must have:

  • no convictions within the last seven years
  • never been sentenced to a jail sentence
  • never been ordered by a court, following a criminal case, to be held in a hospital due to your mental condition, instead of being sentenced
  • never been convicted of a “specified offence” (for example, sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired)
  • paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the court in a criminal case
  • never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 of the Land Transport Act 1998 or any earlier equivalent provision.

What must be done for the clean slate scheme to apply?

The clean slate scheme is automatic. This means it is not necessary to apply for a clean slate. But if you re-offend, the clean slate protection no longer applies and the earlier offending has to be disclosed.

When doesn’t the clean slate scheme apply?

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, ss 14, 19

In some situations the clean slate scheme doesn’t apply, even though you meet the conditions for the scheme (see above).

You’re not entitled to conceal your criminal record, and government agencies can disclose your criminal record, if for example:

  • you’re applying for certain kinds of jobs, including with the police, or as a prison or probation officer, or in a role involving the care and protection of children, or
  • the information is necessary for the police or other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute further offences that you’ve committed
  • your criminal record is relevant in any court proceedings, whether criminal or civil
  • you’re dealing with the law of another country. This means, for example, that if you’re asked, you must disclose your criminal record when you apply for a visa to enter another country.

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The criminal courts

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Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

“Lag Law: Your rights inside prison and on release”


Lag Law answers heaps of common questions you might have if you’re going to prison, you’re in prison, or you’re getting out of prison. It talks about your rights in prison, and sets out the laws and rules that affect you when you’re put in prison.

Order hard copies from:
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Phone: (04) 499 2928
Email: laglaw@wclc.org.nz

Ministry of Justice


The Ministry of Justice website has a range of pamphlets and other information on topics covered in this chapter. You can access this information online, or you can order hardcopies of the pamphlets from:

Phone: 0800 587 847
Email: publications@justice.govt.nz


Ministry of Justice Collections Unit – www.justice.govt.nz/fines

Phone: 0800 4 FINES (0800 434 637)
From overseas: +64 4 915 8586
From Australia: 1800 144 239 (toll free)

You can check or pay your fines by phone or online. The website has information about both infringement fines and court-imposed fines, and about reparations. The website also has information about District Court Collections Units.

Department of Internal Affairs – www.passports.govt.nz/what-you-need-to-renew-or-apply-for-a-passport/before-you-travel/

This webpage has information about paying your fines to avoid being stopped at the border.

Phone: 0800 PAYORSTAY (0800 729 677)

“Giving evidence” (Law Society pamphlet)


This pamphlet is for people who have to give evidence in court as a witness.

You can order hardcopies from the New Zealand Law Society:

Phone: (04) 472 7837
Email: pamphlets@lawsociety.org.nz

Department of Corrections


This website has information:

for offenders

for family and friends of offenders

about the Department of Corrections’ role in the community, including community work, supervision, home detention, and the role of probation officers

about the New Zealand Parole Board.

Victim Notification Register


This page on the Department of Corrections website has information about the victim notification register including, the process, how to apply, information victims can receive and how to make a complaint.

Restorative Practices Aotearoa


This website provides information on when Restorative Justice may be appropriate, and where in New Zealand Restorative Justice is available. You can also make an enquiry about Restorative Justice by filling out a form on their website.

Phone: 0800 RJA INC (0800 752 462)

Victim Support


Victim Support provides 24-hour support services to help New Zealanders rebuild their lives following a trauma or crisis.

Phone: 0800 842 846
Email: nationaloffice@victimsupport.org.nz

Victims Information


This is the website of the government’s “Victims Centre”. The site provides links to a range of services available to help victims deal with the practical and emotional effects of the crime, at each stage of the criminal and youth justice process.

Phone: 0800 650 654

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