Offenders avoiding sentences risk benefit drop

  • 12/11/2015

Offenders who don't carry out community sentences could have their benefit stopped under a Bill that's going to be debated by Parliament.

It's a member's Bill drafted by National's Mark Mitchell, so it's likely to get Government support.

Under the Bill, the Department of Corrections would be able to issue warnings with the consequence of withholding benefit payments.

That would happen before offenders were prosecuted for failing to comply.

"By offering an alternative management tool to the department, this Bill also serves the purpose of not subjecting offenders to the stigma that would arise from further criminal prosecution," the Bill says.

It was one of four drawn from the members' ballot today.

A Labour Party Bill, drafted by Phil Twyford, would put new restrictions on non-resident property buyers.

Non-residents would only be allowed to buy a house if they intended living in it permanently, or if they wanted to buy land to build a new house.

The Government has introduced its own measures to curb property speculation and has rejected Mr Twyford's suggestions, so it isn't likely to back the Bill.

Parliament will also debate Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox's Bill that would allow anyone taking an oath to also state that they will perform their duties in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The fourth Bill drawn from the ballot was drafted by Green Party MP Mojo Mathers, and would establish a supermarket adjudicator to resolve disputes between supermarkets and suppliers.

Opposition members' Bills need either Government support or the backing of ACT or United Future, or the Maori Party, to pass their first reading.

Labour recently managed to get two Bills through their first readings when United Future's Peter Dunne voted for them, along with all the opposition MPs.