An Aucklander has concealed 232 convictions from potential
employers under legislation that lets Kiwis hide their
criminal history if they've had a clean record for seven
More than 115,000 New Zealand criminals have been allowed to
hide convictions including fraud, bestiality, and indecent
assault from prospective employers under the Clean Slate Act,
which came in a decade ago.
The act allows people with less serious convictions to have
them concealed if they meet the right criteria.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice under the
Official Information Act show one Auckland criminal has had
the luxury of concealing their former crimes, despite having
racked up a staggering 232 convictions - the highest in the
The person's identity and type of offending can't be
Among the convictions concealed nationwide were assault on a
child with a weapon, drink driving causing death, burglary,
and indecent assault.
Convictions for tax fraud and bestiality were also hidden.
To be eligible for a clean slate, someone must have been
conviction-free for the last seven years, never received a
custodial sentence, and not be convicted of a "specified
Specified crimes include sexual offending against children
and the mentally impaired, and can never be concealed.
Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly said
employers should always be able to see an applicant's
"If you've had a dishonesty offence … and a small retailer is
going to employ you behind the cash till, that's directly
relevant, whether it's one or ," he said.
"For many small businesses that's their income, it's them and
their house and the wellbeing of their family that's at
However, Pathways Trust reintegration manager Carey Ewing
said the clean slate law allowed former criminals to put
their mistakes behind them.
"New Zealand can be a particularly unforgiving environment …
[and] I don't think any of us would like to live a life where
we were solely judged upon the mistakes we made in the past."
Exaggerated media coverage of criminal offending had helped
fuel Kiwis' beliefs that people didn't change and the longer
offenders went to prison, the better.
A clean slate gave someone opportunities that public opinion
would not, he said.
The clean slate process is automatic, but only applied when a
criminal history request is made to the Criminal Records Unit
-- which processes about 450,000 requests a year.
While clean slate histories are hidden from most employers
making an enquiry about a criminal record, convictions are
still disclosed in applications for jobs as police, judges,
and roles involving the care of children.
Criminal histories are also visible to law enforcement
Because New Zealand legislation doesn't bind foreign
governments, convictions are also visible to overseas
By the numbers
Number of eligible people for whom an application for
criminal conviction information has been clean slated since
November 2004: 115,079
Clean slate recipient with largest number of convictions: 232
Source: Ministry of Justice
- By Cassandra Mason of APNZ