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Labour plunders victims' money

National Law & Order spokesman

2 September 2004

Labour plunders victims' money

The Government is plundering money meant for the victims of crime to pay for bureaucracy, says National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

He is commenting on Ministry of Justice Budget papers which show the Government is taking money from a special fund, which was set up to help victims, to pay for restructuring at Victim Support.

"This fund contains $580,000 which Parliament ring-fenced to fund 'special victim assistance schemes', but this Labour Government is now plundering the fund to pay for restructuring.

"It's not Victim Support's fault. It's about the Government having the wrong priorities and no respect for victims.

"For a start, changes at Victim Support should have been funded separately. They deserve government support, but this shouldn't come from funds Parliament voted specifically for victims' travel and counselling costs.

"The Budget papers, obtained under the Official Information Act, also show the Government is further proposing to each year cut $100,000 from victims' special assistance schemes, and $36,000 from the schemes' administration fund to also help pay for the restructuring.

"This Government is plundering hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims to pay for bureaucracy, and what's more it hasn't told anyone.

"Parliament set this money aside to help victims attend court hearings, parole hearings and receive counselling.

"Victims tell me it is very hard to get money out of these funds. Spending it on restructuring will make it a whole lot harder," Mr Ryall says.


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