Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Government 'Fights' Crime With Weasel Words

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks says he's appalled on first examination of the detail in Phil Goff's Sentencing & Parole Reform Bill which was introduced into Parliament today.

"It's very cunning. For the critical first few days of public discussion it will probably mislead people standing up for victim's rights into giving it guarded support.

"For the past 18 months the Government's been pretending it will get tough on crime. Phil Goff's still pretending that's what this bill does. But if you read it carefully, the bill does exactly the opposite. Some headline sentences will increase, but the weight of the bill is full of weasel words and platitudes for the criminals. We shouldn't have expected anything different from the Government that has given us suggestions such as conjugal visits for prisoners and children being raised with their incarcerated mothers.

"Contrary to what Mr Goff says, it's the victims of vile crimes that are left with the bones while the offenders are given a feast of opportunity, and lawyers who speak for them.

"The legislation will add to discretions in sentencing and more watered-down punishment. Those who are responsible for our failed 30 year experiment get another chance to apply their theories. Abolition of mandatory life sentences for murder must result in even shorter sentences for the people who willingly take lives.

"Under these offender-based reforms judges will have to sentence the convicted to 'the least restrictive penalty appropriate in the circumstances' and should take into account 'any particular circumstances of the offender that would make a sentence disproportionately severe'. Under our existing laws a life sentence means anything but that. Now life sentences themselves are on the way out.

"92 percent of New Zealanders voted for tougher sentences for violent offenders. They've been betrayed by this blatant piece of spin.

"More reliance is to be placed on fines. But already they are not collected. New Zealand will get the worst possible outcome: large headline sentences for the experienced criminals who are least likely to be influenced by them, while entry-level criminals will get the message, 'society is scared of you - take a gamble on getting a wally for a judge, and you'll receive counselling, a fine or 'community sentencing' and get out early. The law will not mean what it says.

"ACT will fight this legislation. In Government we will move quickly to implement policies that make the law mean what it says, that give major consideration to the victims and that ensure offenders are punished ' not just given a few warm words and invited to be life members of the Labour or Alliance parties," Stephen Franks said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news