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Another U-Turn On Crime From Labour?


Another U-Turn On Crime From Labour?

If Prime Minister Helen Clark is correctly reported this morning, she has an open mind on hard labour for idle prisoners - this must be the quickest U-turn so far for this Government, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Less than one month ago, Miss Clark's Government and the Greens ganged up to block my amendment to Corrections Minister Paul Swain's massive Corrections Bill - an amendment designed expressly to leave open the possibility of hard labour," Mr Franks said.

"The amendment did not oblige the Government to introduce hard labour, but simply protected New Zealand's freedom of action by eliminating Labour's late addition to that Bill of an express submission to the UN rules that forbid `afflictive labour'.

"I argued that it was nuts for a Government, that pretended to worry so much about our sovereignty that it dumped our right of appeal to the Privy Council, to subject itself - without debate - to UN rules prohibiting something as commonsense as hard labour for punishment.

"Mr Swain did not deign to debate the issue, nor did he explain why the provision referring to the UN rules was beefed up after the public's opportunity for submissions had closed.

"This Government U-turns for popularity, but a one-month U-turn beats even Education Minister Trevor Mallard's turnaround on school closures," Mr Franks said.

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