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Alexander: Govt listens with van Gogh's ear

Alexander: Govt listens with van Gogh's ear

The Government might claim to be listening to the people after being slapped around the ears with a couple of damning polls, but its hearing remains stubbornly selective, United Future's Marc Alexander said today.

"And nothing shows us this better than the release on parole next month of the Harry Goulding Houkamau, who beat Nan Withers to within an inch of her life in 1997.

"It was this tragic landmark case that sparked the 300,000-signature petition that brought the referendum at the 1999 election that saw some 92 percent of New Zealand voters call for tougher sentences for violent criminals," Mr Alexander said.

Houkamau, who was out on parole after serving two-and-a-half years for armed robbery when he attacked Mrs Withers, was sentenced to 10 years' jail for the attack.

"Houkamau has served six years for an attack that the trial judge described as as close to murder as it is possible to get," Mr Alexander said.

"And still we wait for this Government to really deliver tough sentences. "If the Prime Minister is really interested in hearing what the public is saying, she must show it by delivering the goods to Kiwis who place the safety of their families ahead of her personal ideological legacy," he said.

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