On-line fines system off to roaring start

The Department for Courts collected about $1000 in fines on the first day, after launching its online fine-payment Web site this week.

The Department for Courts collected about $1000 in fines on the first day, after launching its online fine-payment Web site this week.

The site allows people owing fines to pay them with a credit card over the Internet.

That amount is a mere drop in the bucket of the $187.4 million of fines overdue, but is an encouraging start, says Courts spokeswoman Beryl Pears. It’s well on the way to justifying the cost of the system, which was a little over $20,000.

The Fines On-Line site (www.fines.govt.nz) also offers a variety of information on the fines process, and answers to frequently asked questions, such as “We keep getting letters from the Court, and the person doesn't live here. What do we do?”

The site was developed with the aid of Clear Communications and Wellington-based Web design company Zoe Communications. The credit-card processing uses Clear’s Paysafe service.

The online payment system is independent of the Collect fines collection system, still being developed by Andersen Consulting, and not due for completion until the middle of next year.

There is an off-line connection in that paid fines are keyed into a database to record payment. Currently this is held on the ageing Law Enforcement System (LES) known as the “Wanganui computer”. The database will migrate to Collect once that system is complete.

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