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Big News: Defining The Crucial Issues

Big News with Dave Crampton

Defining The Crucial Issues

Phil Goff’s admission last week that the Government’s new sentencing laws are not all that hot has sent other justice ministers, and would-be justice ministers into a spin. All are stating that the laws are flawed – but none are commenting on what to do to reduce the increasing violence in the first place.

Goff spent four days monitoring sentencing patterns to see if judges were applying the law properly before saying the Government "...has the option of changing the legislation if it believes that it’s necessary..." Well, after the first court case it was found to be necessary.

Judges are applying the law properly and people like Hayden Brown who last week was sentenced to nine years in jail last week for bashing his mother’s head in with a hammer will be eligible for parole in three years. Wait for the criminal count of those on parole to rocket in three year’s time.

But while politicians are fighting over how long to imprison violent criminals, the Maxim Institute is discussing what should be done to stop the violence in the first place. Those in the Institute see the problem arising from relational and moral problems within families. The problem, they say, is that politicians are looking to the law to solve moral and relational problems and this relational breakdown should be the focus for policy solutions.

Although 92 percent of voters voted for tougher sentencing, they were not told that if people were sentenced, they’d be out after a third of their sentence – tougher sentences or no tougher sentences. The Government appears to have disregarded Norm Withers petition and the subsequent votes, while placing a higher priority on the fact that fewer people wanted MMP, yet we still have MMP.

As well as tougher sentences, there should be tougher parole conditions – and parole conditions should be toughened up now. But the Sentencing and Parole “Deform” Bill has thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to tougher sentences and the time criminals spend behind bars. Law and order is becoming one of the issues of this election, much more so than the Janetteically modified debate on GE.

Do you really think that GE (or GM) is one of the crucial issues of this election? Some MPs think so and the media like to beat it up. I think it is one of the defining issues, but certainly not as crucial as health, education, the economy, and law and order. Even employment and defence are more crucial than GM. Yet GM is working for the Greens while the issue is the only one that unifies Labour and National.

But, given the choice, I’d rather eat food with GE and have good health, a good education and a good job as opposed to being unemployed, uneducated, sick, and GE free. I’d rather eat GE food with my mother as opposed to having mother murdered with the murderer being released after a third of his sentence – and eating GE free food at the funeral.

Most voters will agree – which is why GE is not as big an issue as it is cracked up to be. If you want real politics surrounding GE, then talk about a Growing Economy.


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