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Pressure On Labour To Reform Self-Defence Laws

Pressure On Labour To Reform Self-Defence Laws

A responsive Labour Government in Britain will build pressure on their more politically correct namesakes here, to reform the law of self-defence, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"The British Home Secretary, equivalent to our Justice Minister, has responded to a poll showing overwhelming support for householders to be given the right to use deadly force against burglars, by inviting suggestions for the wording of a reform to the UK law of self-defence," Mr Franks said.

"The British are campaigning for a much more radical change than my Crimes (Self-Defence) Amendment Bill. Both Labour and the Tories are competing to support the British campaign.

"Justice Minister Phil Goff's attempt to squelch debate by falsely describing my Bill as `Americanisation' is going to look silly if the British end up more American than the Americans. Will he then try to stop debate by accusing me of trying to `anglicise' our law?

"The drafting of my Bill was begun by a German lawyer in my office who drew on tougher European concepts of legitimate self-defence, before concluding that our main problem was the 1980 removal of provocation as a defence. What excuse will Mr Goff use to duck the issue if I go back and propose to `Europeanise' our law of self-defence to get to a similar commonsense position?

"Labour's hostility to practical self-defence rights for ordinary New Zealanders highlights how extreme its nanny state is.

"By refusing to respond to public demands for a law that better fits what decent citizens already do, and what front-line police recommend they do despite their bosses, Mr Goff makes it likely the pressure will build. The result could be reforms delayed, but more radical when they come," Mr Franks said.

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