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Weak Government Sends Wrong Message With Loans

Friday 4 Jan 2002

Providing inmates with student loans sends completely the wrong message, ACT Social Welfare and Tertiary Education Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"At the last election, 92 per cent of New Zealanders wanted Government to be tough on crime. Instead, we got a Government that is soft on crime. First Labour and Alliance proposed conjugal `rights' for prisoners, and then babies in jail.

"Now it is taxpayer-funded student loans. It's a scheme with a fundamental problem: courses will be ad hoc, and at the taxpayer's expense. Mr Maharey can give no assurances that these courses will either increase an inmate's employability, or prevent re-offending. Nor can he promise that the loans will ever be paid back.

"My concern is that giving special privileges to criminals sends the wrong signals. Prison sentences must be punitive as well as rehabilitative. Just ask victims and their families what they think of a Government that's soft on crime," Dr Newman said.


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