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National Still Doesn't Get It On Justice

Tuesday 28 May 2002

"National still doesn't get it," said ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks on the release of their law and order policies today. "They had all those years to get tough and now two and a half years out of power but still they come back with minor tinkering to preserve the failed 30-year experiment.

"With both Labour and National resisting the ordinary commonsense of 92% of New Zealanders we could end up with the worst of all possible outcomes - very high imprisonment rates, long sentences, and the highest violent crime rates in the English speaking world.

"National is starting to use the language of certainty but only the language. ACT's policy of abolishing parole will create real Truth in Sentencing that can leave no criminal gambling on getting out at two thirds or half their sentence as National proposes, or one third has Labour has now put into law.

"If National meant more than rhetoric on helping the Police they would have authorised them to use DNA profiling to identify all convicted Crimes Act offenders, not just cosmetic extensions to cover burglars.

"Like Labour they have focused their election promises on headline crimes and fashion of the moment issues such as methamphetamine. We will not make New Zealanders genuinely safer and get crime levels even back to levels comparable with the US unless entry-level crime and youth justice is the focus. Zero Tolerance puts the emphasis on where it must be, making sure young offenders know that the law will mean what it says, that feeble excuses and endless family group conferencing won't get them out of being held accountable.

"I had thought that National would have policy that would draw more on overseas experience of what works and what doesn't and that it might be hard to find difference between ACT and National. That would have made it much easier to turn things around immediately with an ACT/National coalition. We will have to ensure they take crime more seriously. Clearly ACT's influence in this area will remain much more vital than we had hoped," Stephen Franks said.


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