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'Law and Order' campaign a farce - Greens

5 June 2002

'Law and Order' campaign a farce - Greens

Green Spokesperson on Children's Issues Sue Bradford today said the National Party was fast turning any debate over law and order into a farce with today's policy launch that could see 12 year olds in prison.

National Leader Bill English today announced his party's policy to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12 years old.

"The National Party are struggling for traction and the efforts are becoming sillier and sillier," said Ms Bradford.

"It's outrageous that their policy is focused on sending 12 year olds to jail rather than on dealing with the root causes of child offending."

Ms Bradford said rather than locking children up younger and younger, Parliament needed to take a genuine lead in addressing the issues such as child poverty and adult unemployment that underpinned offending.

"In the late 1990s when National was last in power around one third of all children were raised below the poverty line. Instead of harsh, reactive policies I challenge Mr English to commit to repairing the damage done by his party in Government," said Ms Bradford.

"New Zealanders don't want to see kids in jail. What I think New Zealanders do want to see is a fairer start in life for all our children, a decent and affordable education system that encourages learning, and safer communities for our children to grow up in and feel a part of.

"This is no small ask but it is what the Greens are trying to achieve with our just launched policy on Children. I challenge Mr English to commit to policy with substance rather than hard-line quick fix slogans that will make the problem worse rather than better."


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