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Conflict over Government crime policy

Government tensions over crime policy were admitted by Alliance Minister Matt Robson in the House yesterday, said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

“This explains why all Labour Minister Phil Goff has to show for his get tough on crime campaign is a stalled Bail Bill.”

“Mr Goff has been venting his frustrations by blaming the judiciary for the number of criminals on our streets. Mr Goff is no fool, he knows that it is Parliament who is responsible for the apprehension and punishment of criminals, yet his en passé with Matt Robson has left him powerless.

“Currently, few criminals serve more than two thirds of their sentences. Indeed, if criminals did serve the sentences that judges give them, many would be in prison for nearly twice as long as now.

“The problem is, as Mr Goff knows, is that if the judges did increase sentences there would not be the prisons to hold them because the Corrections Minister Matt Robson has refused to build them. He has even refused to build the prisons his own department has told him New Zealand needs for the forecast prison musters under current sentencing practices.

“Mr Robson tried to turn the attack onto ACT by saying that criminals could not serve longer sentences as it would cost too much. What is the safety of our children worth?

“This Government is sending a confused message to the 84% of New Zealanders who want truth in sentencing and the 92% of the population who signed Norm Withers Citizens Initiated Referendum wanting tougher laws for criminals. How many people have to sign a petition before this Government gets the message?”

“The ACT Party is prepared to get tough on criminals. We see no reason why Mr Goff and Mr Robson should continue to waste time and taxpayers money bickering. If the Government really wanted to get tough on crime it would take up Richard Prebble’s offer to make Truth in Sentencing a Government measure,” said Stephen Franks.


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