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Are You Mean, Or Are They Greedy, Mr Goff?

Are You Mean, Or Are They Greedy, Mr Goff?

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today called on the Labour Government to let New Zealanders know the principles for the compensation for false convictions.

"Justice Minister Phil Goff has known for years that they are needed, but he has foreign priorities that mean justice in New Zealand has taken second place. The three wrongly-convicted girls, who now have to sue for more, may be victims of the Government's failure to establish principles to deal with such incidents," Mr Franks said.

"While it is unclear whether this particular case is driven by the girls' greed, or Government meanness, we could all form a view on fairness if Labour had laid down simple ground rules and processes to address this kind of issue.

"This is not a `one-off' incident. They have had years to think about it. Remember the uproar over Attorney General Margaret Wilson's secret deal to give some former prisoners amounts thought to exceed $90,000 for ill treatment they suffered in prison. Prisoners mistakenly kept in after their sentences have ended are routinely compensated at a daily rate far above anything they could earn.

"Worse is to come. Dale, Dale and McLeod, probably falsely convicted of rape, may be entitled to compensation for many years of imprisonment - not just the comparatively short period that the Auckland girls suffered. Yet still the Government has established no principles to deal with cases of this type.

"Justice Minister Phil Goff is forced to spend all his time touring the world as Minister of Foreign Affairs, cleaning up Prime Minister Helen Clark's foreign relations messes. The result is injustice in New Zealand," Mr Franks said.

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