18 Nov 2012

Trans-Tasman criminal checks scheme extended

6:14 am on 18 November 2012

A trial in which police information on potential employees is shared between New Zealand and Queensland has been extended for a further six months.

The pilot involves four New Zealand organisations that employ people who work with vulnerable groups such as children or people with special needs.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the ability to get information from Queensland police directly helps employers feel more confident about the decisions they are making.

She says there are a number of ways the scheme could be expanded in the future.

Ms Collins says it is not just about expanding the scheme in the territories around Australia, but also whether it could be extended to all employers.

She says the trial is part of a wider programme of work on information sharing with Australia.

But the Teachers' Council says the trial has not made a huge difference to its current practices. Director Peter Lind says it was already completing thorough checks on people from Australia applying for teaching jobs.

Mr Lind says a bigger difference would be made if the information was shared electronically, to speed up the vetting process.