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Get Sensible, Phil

Get Sensible, Phil

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today committed ACT to ensuring that Labour could not slide past Sensible Sentencing Trust's demands for a clear commitment and timetable for criminal justice reform.

"Sensible Sentencing has asked that Labour respond to human curs as quickly as it pretends to deal with dangerous dogs," Mr Franks said.

"Many of the problems raised by Sensible Sentencing have been raised by judges. Each time, Justice Minister Phil Goff implies that the problem is an unintended loophole, a drafting accident, or the fault of judges who cannot read his mind. In fact, most reflect deliberate policy choices, made after warnings from ACT and other opposition parties.

"Mr Goff knows the Parole Board is not allowed to let a judge's sentencing reasons, or a victim's right to see a price paid for crime, override his instruction that prisoners be released as soon as the Parole Board is persuaded they are not `an undue risk to the safety of the community'. Parole is a device for deceiving ordinary New Zealanders and should be abolished for violent criminals, as the victims demand.

"I count 33 policy requests in Sensible Sentencing's paper. All are clearly understandable. Most would be very straightforward. Twenty-nine of the 33 are consistent with ACT's commitment to putting victims and the law-abiding ahead of offenders, and to zero tolerance principles. ACT can offer unequivocal support for those.

"The Minister's mumbling and weaving will not continue to work. It was inspiring to see the determination and dignity of the Sensible Sentencing members today. They will not accept continued scorn for ordinary people's concepts of justice, from the theorists who have controlled policy in this area for 30 years. ACT will be part of the transformation ignited by Sensible Sentencing," Mr Franks said.

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