About the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004
This legislation is designed to allow individuals with less serious convictions who have been conviction free for at least seven years and who meet all other relevant criteria to put their past behind them. It will enable eligible individuals to conceal convictions in most circumstances. There are some exceptions when individuals' convictions will continue to be disclosed.
The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 is an automatic scheme - therefore, it is not necessary to apply for a 'clean slate'. If you meet all the criteria for concealing previous convictions you are eligible to have your convictions concealed by the Ministry. Your convictions will be entitled to be concealed as long as you continue to meet all the criteria. Those who do not meet all criteria will be ineligible for 'clean slate' purposes and will receive a criminal convictions report.
View the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 on the New Zealand Legislation website.
What are the criteria for concealing my criminal record?
An individual must meet all of the criteria in section 7 of the Act before all of their convictions can be concealed. The general criteria for obtaining the benefits of the 'clean slate' scheme are set out below. The Act should be consulted for full information.
The individual must have:
- no convictions within the last 7 years;
- never been sentenced to a custodial sentence (e.g. imprisonment, corrective training, borstal);
- never been ordered by a Court during a criminal case to be detained in a hospital due to his/her mental condition, instead of being sentenced;
- not been convicted of a "specified offence" (e.g. sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired)(see interpretation section for a full list);
- paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the Court in a criminal case;
- never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 Land Transport Act 1998 or earlier equivalent provision.
How will I know if I meet the criteria?
The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 is an automatic scheme - therefore, it is not be necessary to apply for a 'clean slate'.
Individuals can request a copy of their criminal record from the Criminal Records Unit of the Ministry of Justice. If an individual is eligible under the scheme his/her convictions will be concealed. If the individual's convictions continue to be on their criminal record they do not meet the eligibility criteria.
Exceptions under Section 19 of the Act
There are specific exceptions where a complete criminal record is required, as detailed in section 19 of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act. Approved users can request the required form by contacting the Criminal Records Unit in writing:
Criminal Records Unit
Ministry of Justice
SX10161 (What is this?)
How does this legislation impact on my ability to travel overseas & completing visa application forms?
Because New Zealand legislation cannot bind a foreign government, the Act will have no impact on the border and immigration disclosure requirements of overseas jurisdictions.
Where a foreign State requires disclosure of all criminal convictions, whether entitled to be concealed or not, all convictions will need to continue to be provided. The weight that is given to the conviction in relation to the immigration or visa application is at the discretion of the country in question.
Background to the Act
The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Bill received its third reading in Parliament on 11 May 2004. It received the Royal Assent on 16th of May 2004. This Act came into force on Monday 29 November 2004. Any questions asked about criminal records or requests for an individual's criminal record processed on or after Monday 29 November 2004 will comply with the requirements of the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004.
This legislation is designed to allow individuals with less serious convictions who have been conviction-free for at least seven years to put their past behind them. It will enable eligible individuals to conceal convictions in most circumstances. There are some exceptions when individuals' convictions can continue to be disclosed (see Section 19 of the Act).
The Act did not come into force immediately. Therefore, individuals could not obtain the benefit of the clean slate scheme until the Act commenced. The Act commenced on Monday 29 November 2004.
Delayed commencement was necessary to enable the Ministry of Justice and the New Zealand Police to implement the Act, with changes to information technology systems and day-to-day work practices.
An information pamphlet on the effect of this legislation is available in the following languages:
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - English
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - Māori (PDF, 181KB)
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - Cook Island Māori (PDF, 175KB)
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - Tongan (PDF, 195KB)
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - Samoan (PDF, 177KB)
- Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 pamphlet - Niuean (PDF, 178KB)