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Justice Minister Judith Collins today welcomed the start of a six-month trial of criminal history sharing between New Zealand and Australia.
The trial will give four New Zealand agencies access to the Australian criminal records of job applicants. The agencies – the Ministry of Social Development, Child Youth and Family, the Teachers' Council and IHC New Zealand – already undertake high risk employee checks through the New Zealand Police.
Queensland government employers will similarly be able to extend their criminal history checks to New Zealand. A full review of the trial will be conducted before consideration is given to expanding the arrangements to other Australian states.
The trial follows a January agreement between Prime Ministers John Key and Julia Gillard to test out the idea and is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in May by Ms Collins and Australian Minister of Justice Jason Clare.
“The Queensland trial is an important step forward in enhancing information sharing between New Zealand and Australia. It forms part of a wider programme of work on reciprocal information sharing to support the free movement of people across the Tasman,” Ms Collins says.
“People can be assured that their privacy will be respected. The release of criminal records will require the consent of the individual and will be subject to the ‘clean slate’ process,” Ms Collins says.
Under the Clean Slate Act, convictions are not shown on a person’s record if they have no convictions within the last seven years, their convictions are for less serious offences, and certain other conditions are met.