The fines system in NZ is somewhat of a sick joke, with an ever increasing number who simply don’t pay. And eventually when taken back to court they get the fine translated into community service at rate of several hundred dollars per hour.
But now to make things even more barmy, the Government is looking at having lower or no fines for poorer offenders. Yes fines will not be based on your criminal offending but your wealth. Park your car illegally and it’s only $10 for Mr A but $150 for Mr B as he is a rich bastard.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said the idea of slashing fines for young and low-income offenders was one of the dumbest ideas he had heard from this “whole warm, fuzzy experiment we are having on crime”.
But lawyer Catriona MacLennan, who works with low-income people, said today’s system was inequitable.
“If you get a fine of $200 and are on a benefit or are unemployed that’s a huge penalty to you, whereas to a middle-class person it is nothing.”
Well I’ve got the solution to the problem – stop making criminals pay fines, but make wealthy non-criminals pay it. It’s very unfair that criminals who are often poor stay trapped in poverty because they have to pay for their criminal behaviour. So let’s add on a 3% surcharge to everyone earning over $40,000 and use that money to pay all the fines on behalf of those who actually break the law. That’s fair and equitable isn’t it?No tag for this post.