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Labour Justice Policy for Idiots

Labour Justice Policy for Idiots

Friday 5 Jul 2002 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice -- Zero Tolerance for Crime

Labour must think voters are total idiots to `launch' a justice policy that has absolutely no new elements except some fresh deceit about what has already been done, says ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks. "Perhaps Mr Goff expects it to go unnoticed in the uproar over the Police decision to let the art forger off," he said.

"The policy does have some new ways to tell political lies. Mr Goff says he will "entrench" the new Sentencing and Parole Acts. He can't mean that.

"Those Acts are an existing deceitful "entrenchment" of failed old policy. They reduce penalties for criminals.

"The Sentencing Act so confused a judge on Wednesday that he declined to set a non-parole period to ensure the criminal served up to two thirds of a nine year sentence in case it represented "double punishment". The Parole Act shows complete contempt for judges and courts by preventing a Parole Board from recognising or respecting any deterrent or retributive reasons for sentencing.

"Mr Goff promises to pass the Victims Rights Bill. He has had it for nearly 3 years after National introduced it. ACT improved the Bill substantially in select committee but it still fails to allow victims a right to representation in court or even to tell a judge what they feel should happen to the criminal. Meanwhile under Goff's new sentencing law the criminal can demand that the court hear not only him but his whanau and other representatives.

"The youth offending strategy has already been announced. It is a perfect illustration of the reason why many feel an urge to reach for the sick bag when they hear the word "strategy". The whole youth justice "strategy" is to do more of the same. It has resulted in violent youth crime doubling in New Zealand over a period when it has been cut by over 30% in the United States.

"One new thing might have made some of the "strategy" work. That would have been putting the police in charge of the resources for the whole "strategy". They should have been authorised to contract with other agencies as and when required. That has not been done because the government didn't feel George Hawkins had enough control over the police. They might have redirected some of the useless politically correct spending of CYFS and other agencies.

"Even Mr Goff's claim that burglary has dropped is probably false. Reported burglary has certainly dropped. The police know how to fudge statistics to satisfy politicians. Some of it will now be recorded as thefts. But much more will not be reported because people don't expect the police to turn up in time to do anything useful. Most only report burglary because it is an insurance requirement. A Government study seven years ago found that fewer than half of household property offences are reported. So many people are now uninsured that there will now be even less reason to report.

"I summarise Mr Goff's justice policy as follows:

"You voted 92% to toughen up on crime and do more for victims so you must be stupid or you didn't understand the question. I think you are mostly stupid so I have told you loudly we have done what you want, while we did the opposite. Now I am not going to do anything more even though the art forger's latest credit card says I am going to give "tougher sentences for the most serious offenders.

"I don't have any new solutions to crime and my expert advisers hate to even look at how successful the US and Singapore have been in applying some straight-forward principles, like truth in sentencing and making sure crime doesn't pay.

"I'll get away with this because you trust politicians who claim to be honest, and you don't check to see what we actually do. We did a victimisation survey last year that would be dynamite if you knew about it. Though it was due out a month ago I will simply keep saying the figures" need work".

"Because most media commentators think that demanding that criminals pay a price for crime is just primitive, they will not question us closely on this. They think like us and will print whatever we say."

Labour will not get away with this. There are enough angry victims out there now to make sure that even a consensus of Labour politicians bureaucrats, and commentators will not bury this issue.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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