Instant fines for shoplifters could provide ‘accountability’ – NZ First MP

Drive 22/09/2018
Photo: Getty.

Shoplifters could be fined up to $1500 on the spot for pocketing goods if a private member’s bill gets the thumbs up.

New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball’s bill will allow police to issue instant fines, ranging from a minimum of $150 and up to “one and a half times” the value of the stolen goods.

Mr Ball told RadioLIVE that the bill will provide “immediate accountability” to those caught shoplifting.

But Drive host Lisa Owen wasn’t so convinced, asking whether shoplifters would actually pay up.

“You could take the same attitude with fines for speeding,” responded Mr Ball. “Are people really going to pay those fines?”

New Zealand retailers get hit with an average of eight retail crimes per year, according to a 2017 survey by NZ Retail and the University of Otago. Retailers spent some $514 million on loss prevention over the course of 2017.

It appears that retailers may be reluctant to report shoplifters – with a whopping 68 percent of retail crime going unreported because of the cost and time involved in reporting crime.

Indeed, Mr Ball says the bill will be a valuable tool for police to cut through the slow, “red tape” of prosecuting shoplifters through a formal court process.

“The bottom line of this is making sure people are being held to account.”

The proposed bill would permit up to two infringements before seeing the offender prosecuted in court.

Listen to the full interview with Darroch Ball above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.