Prisoner Compensation Ban Bill Progresses

by Desk Editor on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 — 7:50 PM

A bill which would extend a ban on prisoners getting monetary compensation has been sent to select committee for consideration.

The Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (2012 Expiry and Application Dates) Amendment Bill is another piece of temporary legislation on the issue and seeks to ensure that any compensation paid to prisoners is redirected to victims or services to victims.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the bill would replace the temporary legislation put in place that stopped prisoners receiving monetary compensation. This would maintain the status quo.

There was not enough time to pass the permanent legislation which Collins said needed to be reviewed and examined with a full process of consultation and scrutiny if it was advanced.

The new bill would retains the status quo and needed to be reported back by the Justice Committee by June 11 in order the original legislation did not lapse

Labour MP Charles Chauvel said the substantive legislation had responded to a perceived need at the time. However the law had only been used once in recent time and so therefore the need for the law could be questioned

He criticised that no review had been commissioned by the previous justice minister, but said Labour would co-operate to progress the bill despite the short time frame of select committee consideration.

Green MP David Clendon said the original law was ill conceived, ineffective and had probably cost more to pass than had been returned to victims in its entire history

The easy way to ensure prisoners did not get compensation was to abuse them, he said.

The Bill amends the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) to extend the restrictions on the awarding of compensation for one more year from 1 July 2012 until 30 June 2013.

The current temporary regime expires on 30 June 2012. The Government’s intended permanent regime is in the Prisoners’ and Victims’ Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill 2011 which was introduced on 13 October 2011. This is still awaiting its first reading and is described in Bills Digest 1943.

The bill passed its first reading by 103 to 17 with the Greens, Maori Party and Mana opposing.

The Labour Party opposed a motion that the bill be given a shortened period for scrutiny before the select committee it passed by 72 to 48 with Greens, Labour and Mana opposing.

MPs began debate on the interrupted third reading of the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases)
Amendment Bill.

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