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Nats law and order policy lacks credibility

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

28 May 2002

Nats law and order policy lacks credibility

National’s law and order policy is full of ironies, inconsistencies and inaccuracies, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

“National has a major credibility problem with its policy. It trumpets that it will bring in 500 new police yet that party’s police review in 1999 planned to reduce police numbers by almost 500.

“This Government has increased police staff numbers by 446 and given the police $129 million in new money since it came into office.

“National says it will increase the minimum non-parole period for non-violent offenders from a third to a half which is exactly the opposite of what it did in Government in 1993.

“It’s ‘life-means-life’ approach will have no impact on the murder rate, with Bill English admitting it may apply to just one or two offenders a year.

“The Government Sentencing and Parole legislation means the worst murderers will get a minimum non-parole period of at least 17 years with the courts having the power to put these offenders away for a long time.

“The new legislation sets in statute the principle that the worst form of offending should attract the maximum sentence. Judges have the discretion to set minimum periods before parole can be considered of two thirds or ten years for serious offenders.

“National has failed to reveal the overall costings for its law and order policy which would provide a convenient escape route for them should they ever be in a position to put it into practice.

“The Government has set aside $90 million over the next three years to implement the Sentencing and Parole legislation which will result in prison numbers increasing by 300-350 inmates who represent the most serious offenders in our system.

“Several ‘new’ policy aspects announced have already been initiated by the Government such as DNA profiling measures and e-crime legislation already before the House.

“National has come up with promises but they lack credibility. Actions speak louder than words and National’s track-record as a do-nothing government in this area will produce a sceptical reaction to its newly-found commitments.

“The current Government has achieved more within three years than National did in three terms,” Mr Goff said.


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