16 Feb 2013

Criminal record wiping 'may happen elsewhere'

12:09 pm on 16 February 2013

A Tongan leader in Auckland says the practice by Tongan police of writing off criminal convictions could be happening in other Pacific nations.

Tonga's police chief has confirmed that at least two officers have been involved in signing letters stating people have a clean record when they actually have convictions.

Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka says that is a warning for New Zealand officials to make sure their immigration systems and checks are robust.

Mr Maka says people in the Pacific are laid back and it wouldn't surprise him if police are cleaning up people's records elsewhere.

Immigration New Zealand's Pacific regional manager, Alan Barry, says there's no evidence of that but the department will be checking its procedures for police certificates.