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Minister backs down on sentencing bill

Wayne Mapp National Justice Spokesperson

21 February 2002

Minister backs down on sentencing bill

The Justice Minister has buckled to pressure and made a much-needed change to the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill, but it doesn't go far enough, says National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp.

"New Zealanders will be pleased that judges will now be able to impose non-parole periods on violent offenders with finite sentences of more than two years.

"Mr Goff had eliminated the category of 'serious violent offenders'. What this means is that all violent offenders will be able to apply for parole at one third of their sentence, and many will get it.

"The Minister's amendment doesn't change this basic rule. What the Minister should do is make sure that no violent offender gets parole before two-thirds of the sentence is served.

"It has taken nearly a year of pressure from National and from concerned citizens, including the Sensible Sentencing Trust, to get even this change. It's a pity that it has taken the Minister so long, and cost victims such a huge amount of frustration, before Mr Goff has finally buckled to pressure," said Dr Mapp.


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