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Goff Panicked By National Bill

Sunday 11 February 2001

Justice Minister Phil Goff's inaction in law and order is seeing him panic over a National Bill to allow the taking of compulsory DNA samples from burglary suspects, National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp said today.

"Mr Goff knows that in one week Parliament will debate Tony Ryall's members bill that would give the police the power to take such samples. National pledged to do this before the last election but Helen Clark slammed the idea as 'a vast expansion of police powers'. She said 'there will be many views about the further movement on civil liberties and we have no intention of endorsing this in a knee jerk reaction'*.

"Ms Clark, Mr Goff and their colleagues will have a chance to vote for this bill in one week, they need not wait for up to six months before their own legislation is ready to be introduced. Mr Ryall's bill was drawn from the ballot last year and will be the first member's bill of the new parliament.

"Mr Goff's announcement today is merely a cynical attempt by the Government to justify voting against the sensible provisions in Tony Ryall's bill. The Government should put politics aside and support good ideas from the Opposition.

"The irony in Mr Goff's proposal shouldn't be missed. This Government's police budget cuts have seen most police districts in New Zealand stop testing any DNA samples except those in high-profile and extremely serious cases. What's the point in giving police these extra powers if there's no money to enact them?

"Mr Goff has shown himself to be strong on rhetoric but, with nearly half the term of the Labour Government complete, we have yet to see any substantial legislation from Labour that will meet the concerns New Zealanders expressed with the Withers' Referendum at the last election," Dr Mapp said.


* NZ Herald 12 November 1999

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