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Call for a multi-party consensus on violent crime

Hon. Matt Robson MP

Minister of Corrections

Minister for Courts

Deputy leader of the Progressive Coalition

July 16 2002

Robson renews call for a multi-party consensus on violent crime

Progressive Coalition deputy leader, Matt Robson today wrote to the political parties calling for a consensus on strategies to fight violent crime.

“New Zealanders are fed up with the bickering and endless point scoring over crime. The issue is too important. People want politicians to sit down and work together,” says Matt Robson

“I’m offering to set up a multi-party forum where we leave the politics at the door and hammer out a sensible strategy to deal with violent crime, either now or after the election.

“I have proven over the last three years as Corrections and Courts Minister that I do not grandstand on justice issues and that I keep an open-mind to solutions.

“This is a serious initiative borne out of comments made by party spokespeople on last Sunday’s TVNZ law and order debate hosted by Mike Hosking which clearly indicate there is a good foundation of agreement on the basic issues.

“The Clark-Anderton government has increased sentences for violent offenders. I’m building four new prisons as a consequence of that. But the debate must move on. It’s become bogged down in slogans and mud-slinging.

“I want those parties who will be in the next parliament to get together to find a common strategy,” says Matt Robson.

Note to media: generic copy of the letter, sent to Nandor Tanczos, Winston Peters, Stephen Franks, Peter Dunne, Phil Goff and Tony Ryall, follows.

16 July 2002

Letter to: Nandor Tanczos MP (Green), Rt Hon Winston Peters MP (NZ First), Stephen Franks MP (ACT), Hon Peter Dunne MP (United Future NZ), Hon Phil Goff MP (Labour), Hon Tony Ryall MP (National).

Dear

Last Sunday, on TVNZ “Sunday’ law and order debate hosted by Mike Hosking, I proposed that a sensible cross-party strategy to deal with violent crime be devised.

There is agreement that:

- Everyone has a right to live their lives in safety and peace.

- Community safety is paramount.

- Violent offenders should be imprisoned for as long as necessary, and for the worst that is life.

- Early intervention is crucial to prevent today's kids graduating to being tomorrow's prison inmates.

- Justice must be victim-focused.

This opens up the prospect of a cross-party consensus on community safety. The issues are complex but I am convinced we can agree on “what works’ to stop criminal offending and make our communities safer.

I am offering to convene a multi-party forum of parties likely to be represented in the next Parliament, either before or after the General Election, to put the idea of a cross-party consensus on dealing with violent crime on the table for discussion. The issue is too important for us to allow it to become a political football.

If we can put rivalry to one side in the public interest and in the best traditions of Parliament, the public, especially the victims of violent crime, will thank us.

Please let me know if you are willing to participate.

Yours sincerely

Hon Matt Robson

Deputy Leader and Justice Spokesperson


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