Police and Corrections Minister Anne Tolley has defended
the idea of introducing a register of sex offenders, saying the
government will make privacy paramount but no system is immune
to human error.
The Government plans to introduce a comprehensive management
scheme similar to one run in Britain, in which officials keep
track of the addresses, jobs, family relationships and other
details of serious offenders once they are released from
It would cover dangerous repeat violent offenders and sex
offenders. The information would be available to government
agencies and not the public.
Police and Corrections have begun policy work, including
producing a report and a timeline for introducing the
management scheme, including the register of sex offenders.
"It's quite a big piece of work. It's not just a list of
offenders; it's a management system that manages offenders
from the time they leave prison, almost for the rest of their
Mrs Tolley said she couldn't rule out human error, but the
Government would take security seriously given the privacy
breaches with ACC, Work and Income, the Inland Revenue
Department and the Ministry of Education's Novopay payroll
"It's paramount, because yes it can be very detrimental to
someone who is being well managed in the community if
suddenly a community finds out their history. You do have to
make sure you have a secure system."
Tolley has rejected criticism from Labour that a register of
sex offenders would only contain information already held by
the Ministry of Justice.
In 2004, a Parliamentary select committee dismissed a
member's bill to set up a sex offenders register, because
police and experts in the area had advised it would not be
However, Mrs Tolley said offenders were not being adequately
monitored once released from prison.
"We literally wait for them to reoffend before we pick them
Labour's police spokesman Kris Faafoi said frontline officers
would struggle to monitor those on a register.
"I am sure frontline officers will be left asking 'who is
going to do that?' at a time when National is cutting back
our frontline policing capability," said Mr Faafoi.