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Goff Has Turned His Back On Tough Justice

21 May 2002

Justice Minister, Phil Goff, had a chance to deliver the tough justice legislation hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders are calling for, but he failed them miserably, says National's Justice spokesperson, Wayne Mapp.

"It is an appalling breach of trust. Mr Goff could have seen the country's worst criminals dealt with, but instead he voted against 'life without parole' for the worst murderers, and he voted against denying serious violent offenders parole before two-thirds of their sentence was up.

"New Zealanders have a right to feel cheated. They called for real action on violent crime and all Labour delivered was a lukewarm policy with discretionary parole provisions.

"That is not good enough. While Mr Goff argues "there will be nothing to stop a judge imposing much longer non-parole periods of 20-40 years", how likely is that to happen even for the worst murderers?

"The Minister has done little on criminal justice policy in two and a half years. He has actually promoted a law that allows rapists sentenced to nine years' imprisonment to be eligible for parole in three years. Meanwhile, violent crime has spiralled out of control - up 5.9 percent last year on top of 4.7 percent the year before.

"What's needed is specific direction on the issue so New Zealanders can have the criminal law they were promised.. In New South Wales, 'life without parole' was supported by all political parties - it is a pity that our Government has missed the boat," says Dr Mapp.

Ends

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