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Returning offenders legislation passed

18 November 2015

Parliament has given a third reading to the Returning Offenders (Management and Information) Bill.

The 37-clause bill was introduced by Justice Minister Amy Adams on 17 November 2015 and passed through all stages under urgency.

The bill was unopposed, although Green Party MPs abstained from voting.

Coming into force when it receives the Royal Assent, the legislation provides new powers to monitor and supervise returning offenders, defined as "a person who has been convicted in an overseas jurisdiction of an offence for conduct that constitutes an imprisonable offence in New Zealand and, being liable for deportation or removal as a result of that conviction, has returned to New Zealand."

Persons defined as "returning prisoners" under the legislation will be subject to standard release conditions. To be deemed a returning prisoner, a person must have returned to New Zealand within six months of the specified term of imprisonment.

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson's report on the bill pursuant to section 7 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 says it is inconsistent with the Act in one respect. This is the extension of the regime implemented by the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995 to the new legislation. 

In 2009 when the 1995 Act was amended, Mr Finlayson reported that the amendment was inconsistent with the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.

"In all other respects I am satisfied that the Bill is consistent with the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights Act," he says.

The new legislation contains a provision which requires a mandatory review by the Justice and Electoral Committee. Justice Minister Amy Adams says this review will be undertaken within 18 months.

Last updated on the 18th November 2015