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Zero Tolerance For Crime

ACT Leader Richard Prebble called for a Zero Tolerance for Crime approach at a public rally in Cathedral Square in Christchurch today.

ACT is campaigning on the issue of zero tolerance for crime - the New York approach.

In Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Justice Phil Goff publicly rejected the zero tolerance approach. The Justice Minister read out some police statistics to show that New York's crime rate is still higher than New Zealand's.

So Christchurch, Labour will continue with its soft on crime approach until Christchurch is more dangerous than New York. We are closer to that day than people realise.

The crime rate in Christchurch today is higher than the crime rate in America. You are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in Christchurch than you are in America. You are more likely to be mugged, robbed or raped in Christchurch than in America.

Last year, according to this week's New York Times, violent crime in New York fell over 7%. The Chief Prosecutor Robert Morgenthau attributed New York's falling crime to the zero tolerance approach.

There were fewer murders in New York last year than for 100 years.

Last year in New Zealand violent crime increased 8.5%. In Christchurch violent crime increased 10.5 percent.

A zero tolerance approach to crime means holding offenders accountable for their actions.

ACT is a party that believes in personal responsibility. It's a core ACT principle. ACT will hold criminals accountable.

ACT is in Christchurch to gather opposition to the Labour/Alliance/Green Bill - the Sentencing and Parole Bill - which is in front of Parliament today. Under the Sentencing and Parole Bill, a rapist sent to jail for nine years will be able to be released from jail after just three years.

Under the Bill, all offenders, including violent offenders, are given the right to parole after just a third of their sentence.

To keep a violent offender in jail, the officials must prove that he is a danger to the public.

What happened to punishment? To serving your debt to society? No accountability. All gone.

Ninety two percent of us voted for Norm Withers' referendum for longer sentences for violent crime. Helen Clark says - and I quote - that the Bill "addresses the public's legitimate concerns about longer sentences."

This is treating the voters with contempt. ACT is not impressed with the last-minute amendments for non-parole for some violent offenders.

First - it is only for sentences over two years. Why should a violent robber sentenced to two years jail get out after just six months and three weeks prison?

But Phil Goff says he expects the use of non-parole by the courts to be rare. So most violent criminals will serve just a third of their sentence.

Will they be grateful and not re-offend? Seventy-four percent will be back in jail within three years.

I blame both old parties. National favours letting out criminals after two thirds of their sentence - Labour after one third.

Only ACT favours criminals serving their full court imposed sentence - Truth-in-Sentencing.

If you do the crime, you should do the time. That's accountability. That's Zero Tolerance for Crime. And it works.

We can lower Christchurch crime levels. We can be safe again. We must insist on a Zero Tolerance approach.

Do not forget when you vote this year - only ACT is in favour of Zero Tolerance for Crime.

ENDS

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