Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Tough New Sentencing And Parole Regime Begins

Monday 1 July 2002

Tough New Sentencing And Parole Regime Begins Today

A new era in criminal justice begins today with the Government's Sentencing and Parole Acts coming into force, Justice Minister Phil Goff said.

"The new laws complete a fundamental restructuring of the criminal justice system which includes significantly tougher penalties for the worst offenders.

"The Acts respond to the public concern expressed by the referendum at the last election and will result in increased safety for New Zealanders.

"Public expectations are for tougher punishment for the worst offenders and these have been met in the new Government legislation.

"Key changes which take effect from today include;

*The minimum non-parole period for the worst murderers will increase from 10 to 17 years and this will be just a start. Murders will certain aggravating factors should see Judges impose sentences which will keep the offender in prison for a much longer period of time.

*Families and relatives of victims may be spared the anguish of murderers coming up for parole hearings every year once they become eligible to apply. The worst offenders will have to wait up to three years between parole applications instead of automatically applying each year.

*The abolition of the nonsense of automatic release at two thirds of a sentence for serious violent offenders as defined under the old Crimes Act. These offenders now face the prospect of serving up to the very last day of their sentence, where they continue to pose any undue risk to society.

*Preventive detention - which is also effectively a life sentence - will now be available for a wider range of sexual and violent offending. It will no longer require a previous record of such offending and it can be imposed on those 18 and over instead of 21 and over as under the old law.

*Judges are directed that sentences near the maximum penalty must generally be imposed for very serious crimes and the maximum penalty must now be imposed in the worst cases.

*A new, professional parole board has been created. The New Zealand Parole Board is made up of 10 judges chaired by a former High Court Judge and 13 lay members.

*For the first time the protection of the community has to be the paramount consideration of the board when it is considering whether an offender can be released from prison.

*A better deal for victims. The Sentencing Act strengthens the presumption in favour of reparation for victims of crime. The extent of the loss or harm that can be taken into account has been extended. Judges are now required to give a reason why reparation is not imposed.

"The 'serious violent offender' category under the old law has been abolished. This change was made because the old criteria was a very poor predictor of risk of future offending. Judges in all serious cases will be able to impose a non-parole period of up to two thirds of the sentence. In other cases parole can be considered after one third as was the case for most offences under the previous law.

“Serious offenders who pose a risk to the community will be kept in prison right up to the end of their sentence.

"The Sentencing Act will clearly impose tougher sentences on the worst offenders and the Parole Act will delay the release of those who pose the most risk to society.

"The Government is spending an additional $90 million over the next four years to cater mainly for the expected increase in the prison population of up to 400 inmates,” Mr Goff said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ardern Speech: Justice Summit Opens

If we want to talk about an effective justice system, we shouldn’t start with a discussion about prisons, but a discussion about New Zealand...

We believe in a ‘fair go’. We are fair minded and like to give people a chance. Ensuring everyone is treated fairly is part of the fabric of our culture.

And equally, we are defined by what we don’t believe ourselves to be – and we certainly don’t feel like the kind of place that would have one of the highest incarceration rates in the western world, and yet we do. More>>


Christchurch Quake: New Red Zone Payment For Uninsured

The Government will pay former residential red zone owners 100% of the 2007/08 rateable value for uninsured homes, Minister Megan Woods has announced today. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On MP Pay And The REAL P.C. Danger Zone

There has never been anything remotely credible about the way parliamentarians would paint themselves as the helpless victims of the Remuneration Authority when it came to their pay increases... More>>


Repatriation: Remains Of NZ Service People Return Home

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Veterans Ron Mark say they were honoured to be with the families of service personnel as they welcomed their loved ones home. More>>


Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>


Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>


Greens AGM: Leadership Stands Firm On Waka Jumping Bill

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government. Former MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the waka jumping bill. More>>


TOP Still Going, Actually: New Leader For Opportunities Party

New leader Geoff Simmons' aim as the leader of TOP is to take the party into Parliament at the next election where it can advocate and implement progressive reform in areas including fair taxation, cannabis legalisation, affordable housing, and environmental protection. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case... More>>




Featured InfoPages