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Goff's Bail Bill bungle continues

Tony Ryall
Opposition Justice Spokesperson
Monday 24 April 2000

Goff's Bail Bill bungle continues

The Ministry of Justice is refusing to release official papers on changes to the Bail Bill announced by Mr Goff a month ago, claiming a decision on the policy is still to be made, says National's Justice spokesman Tony Ryall.

"It seems Mr Goff is so busy being Foreign Minister, he's forgotten to get Cabinet approval for major policy announcements in his Justice portfolio.

"The Ministry of Justice is refusing to release the official reports prepared on Mr Goff's "14 strikes and you're out" bail policy because "they concern matters where decisions have not yet been made"[see attached letter from Acting Justice Secretary Dr Palmer]. Yet Mr Goff announced the policy four weeks ago.

"It's clear that the Alliance is still refusing to support Mr Goff's proposal. Mr Robson has repeatedly refused to endorse the policy, which quite incidentally Mr Goff announced when Mr Robson was overseas. Mr Robson told Parliament earlier in the month that he and Mr Goff were still "discussing" the idea.

"This is extraordinary. Here is Mr Goff being the tough law and order guy yet the Cabinet - and Mr Robson - haven't agreed to what he's announcing. Mr Goff is forgetting the very basics of policy making because he's so busy serving our country as Foreign Minister.

"He's not doing justice to Justice.

"C'mon Phil. Are you going to move the amendments or not? And are you going to rely on National to get this through?" asked Mr Ryall.

Mr Goff's policy proposal is to require offenders with 14 custodial sentences to convince the judge they will not re-offend, as opposed to the Police having to convince the judge that they will. This is "14 strikes and you're out".

Before the election Mr Goff was promising a much harder formula where offenders with 10 convictions for imprison-able offences (not actual prison/custodial sentences) would face the reverse onus.


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