Arrest warrants

Not clearing an arrest warrant will mean benefit payments are affected or stopped.

How benefit payments are affected

If you or your partner have an uncleared warrant for criminal matters, you'll be told that unless it's cleared, or you've taken reasonable steps to try and clear it, your benefit will either:

  • stop, if you don't have dependent children, or
  • reduce by up to half, if you have dependent children.

If it hasn't been cleared within 28 days after its issued, you'll get a letter advising you to clear it within 10 working days.

Information

If the warrant is not cleared within 10 working days, your benefit payment will be affected.

If you have an arrest warrant and the New Zealand Police considers you to be a risk to public safety, your benefit can be stopped or reduced immediately, without telling you first.

  • Clearing an arrest warrant

    What you need to do

    Only a court can issue and clear warrants to arrest.

    To clear your warrant to arrest you need to:

    • go to the criminal counter at a courthouse. It's best to go to the court where the warrant was issued, but it can be done at any courthouse. You can't clear a warrant over the phone
    • tell them you want to make a voluntary appearance to clear your warrant
    • try to arrive early in the day. If you leave it too late you may not be able to clear the warrant that day.

    You can go to a police station to start the process of clearing your warrant if you can't get to a court.


    What happens next

    The court will let you know if the warrant can be cleared straight away or if a Judge needs to make the decision.

    • If the warrant can be cleared straight away, the court will give you a Notice of bail.
      The Ministry of Justice lets Work and Income know when this has been done.
      You only have to bring the Notice of bail into your local Work and Income service centre if your benefit has already been stopped or reduced.
    • If the decision has to be made by a Judge you'll be given a Notice of hearing to withdraw an outstanding warrant to arrest. You'll then be given a new court date.
      You need to bring your "Notice of hearing" into your local Work and Income service centre.

    More information

    For all questions about your warrant and to check the courts opening hours, please contact the Ministry of Justice:

    • call 0800 268 787
    • visit the criminal counter at your local court, or
  • How to get your benefit payments restarted

    Benefit payments will only be restarted from the date your warrant is cleared and any missed payments won't be backdated. Other payments from us may also be affected.

    If the warrant can be cleared straight away, the court will give you a 'Notice of bail'. The Ministry of Justice will let us know when this has been done. You'll need to bring the 'Notice of bail' into your local Work and Income service centre.

    If the decision has to be made by a Judge, you'll be given a 'Notice of hearing to withdraw an outstanding warrant to arrest'. You'll then be given a new court date. You'll need to bring the "Notice of hearing' into your local Work and Income service centre.