The Ministry of Justice remains unrepentant for sending
''burly'' debt collectors to the home of a 16-year-old Oamaru
boy, and is warning other teenage motorists age is no excuse
for not paying fines.
The boy's mother, who did not wish to be identified, said she
and her son had been left feeling ''intimidated'', when they
were visited by debt collectors last Thursday.
''There were two of them, they were great big burly blokes.
One of them was on the doorstep and the other was at the
letterbox to make sure no-one ran off.''
She said her son received the motoring fines when he was 15.
They were put on hold until he could find work. As he still
had no job they were unaware any payment was due.
''He's only 16.
"I don't know what they were trying to take.''
However, the ministry's acting general manager of
collections, Karen Walfisch, said the ministry had no age
restriction on people to whom it sent bailiffs to collect
''While there isn't an age restriction on enforcement action,
we acknowledge that a 16-year-old may have a limited ability
to pay and this is taken into account when considering
Ms Walfisch said the issue arose over three unpaid fines,
totalling almost $900, which had been put on hold until June
2012, in order to help the boy find a means of payment, but
he had failed to contact court officials to make arrangements
after that period ended.
''The court bailiff visited him on Thursday and was able to
help him come up with an automatic repayment, which is often
a more realistic way for people with limited means to deal
with their fines and reparation.''
She said the payment of fines and reparation could be
organised by phoning the court on 0800 4FINES or going online
''The court has a range of enforcement tools if required, but
sustainable payment arrangements are always the preference.''