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Goff's Sentencing Proposals Ironic

Justice Minister Phil Goff's proposal for 'degrees of sentencing' is ironic given that he has been giving hard-hitting speeches for years opposing the idea as put forward in my private members bill, National's Police spokesperson Brian Neeson said today.

"Mr Goff opposed my Degrees of Murder Bill preferring to rely on Judges to use their discretion. Now he's turned around and copied the idea - albeit a watered down version.

"Mr Goff dismissed my Bill saying it 'could be too restrictive' and that 'new discretion given to judges gives them the flexibility to treat different murder cases with appropriate severity'. Mr Goff said that 'the latitude that Judges currently have is preferable' to what he calls 'the straightjacket of imposing degrees of murder'.

"Given Mr Goff's sudden enthusiasm for degrees of sentencing I hope he does more than just tinker with the current system. A substantial change is required in our sentencing laws if New Zealanders are going to get their wish to have tougher sentences imposed on violent offenders.

"Whether Mr Goff's degrees of sentencing approach gets out of the starting blocks will depend on the support of Corrections Minister Matt Robson who is known more for his sex in prisons, toddlers behind bars and home detention for violent offenders ideas than for supporting tough sentencing policies.

"My Bill is still before the Select Committee so the Minister can still have some input into my proposal. Mr Goff should stop wasting time and support my Bill.

"If Phil needs any more policy ideas we will be happy to oblige," Mr Neeson said.


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