18 Feb 2015

Labour launches petition against vetting fee

4:55 pm on 18 February 2015

The Labour Party has launched a petition calling for the Government to dump proposed legislation that would allow the police to charge community groups a fee for vetting checks.

Parliament's law and order committee is considering a bill that would mean police could charge between $5 and $7 for every criminal record check.

Labour's community and voluntary spokesperson Poto Williams said community groups and charities would need to divert thousands of dollars a year from helping people, to pay for the compulsory vet checks.

She said it was a core public service provided by the police and the Government should pay for it.

Other community groups have also told the committee to scrap provisions in the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill - which would allow police to charge a fee for any service they do not consider core business.

The Police and Education Partnership told the committee, which is hearing submissions on the legislation, that it was horrified schools, or their teachers and volunteers, might have to pay for police checks.

Representative Martin Henry said the checks should continue to be free for services in the public good.

Head of Birthright New Zealand Gabrielle O'Brien said police checks could drain money that most voluntary organisations such as hers did not have.

Ms O'Brien said it seemed ironic that her organisation would have to pay police for a service when it often assisted the police for free in its work.