12.11Most submitters did not consider that the statutory formulation in section 509 gives rise to problems. All but one were generally happy with the use of that approach. Some noted that courts have proved able to oversee the application of appropriate evidential and procedural rules, and safeguards that ought to apply according to the nature of the proceedings. A number favoured consistency and so supported that approach as it made it clear that pecuniary penalties are distinct from criminal prosecutions.
12.12However, two submitters suggested that the word “usual” should be omitted. The Ministry for Primary Industries suggested the following: “The Court must apply the rules of evidence and procedure for civil matters when hearing proceedings for a pecuniary penalty order”.
12.13In contrast, the New Zealand Law Society did not support such a provision, since it considered that the punitive aspect of the proceedings must not be obscured. It also thought that pecuniary penalties should not be imposed on the balance of probabilities, and that protections available to criminal defendants ought to be available.