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Public sex offender register would encourage vigilantes - PM

There are renewed calls for a public sex offender register following a major criminal information-sharing agreement signed by New Zealand and Australia.

The agreement will allow both countries to pass on information about criminals being deported in both directions across the Tasman.

Garth McVicar from the Sensible Sentencing Trust says he welcomes the new agreement but believes it doesn't go far enough and there needs to be more monitoring of criminals when they land on our shores.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust continues to call for the register to be introduced in NZ. Source: Breakfast

Convicted criminals such as sex offenders should be put on a public sex offender register, Mr McVicar says.

"If we're going to talk about public safety, about the safety of our children we need to know who lives amongst us and the risk they pose."

Prime Minister John Key says a public register of sex offenders will only encourage "vigilantes".

"I'm not sure a public register that would drive people into goodness knows where and goodness knows what will actually help the process," he said.

He says those who need to know where criminals live, such as police and local schools, should continue being the only ones with access to a criminal's information.