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No support for Labour's prisoner compo plan

9 November 2004

Hon. Tony Ryall MP National Law and Order spokesman

No support for Labour's prisoner compo plan

The Government is unable to secure parliamentary support for its prisoner compensation plans, says National's Law and Order spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Mr Goff's proposal to let prisoners claim compensation but allow victims to claim part or all of the proceeds is failing to find support.

"National understands that the Government cannot reach agreement with United Future or the Greens. Neither party has committed to supporting Mr Goff.

"He wants to allow compensation payments and has admitted that criminals may be able to keep all the proceeds.

"United Future wants to stop compensation claims, but wants a better internal complaints system. The Greens want changes to a body that will pay out to victims, but Mr Goff is unhappy about this.

"This is fast becoming a disaster for this Government, which six weeks ago was talking tough and boasting about drafting 'immediate' law," Mr Ryall says.

"The point is that this politically correct Government is proposing to allow murderers and rapists to continue to sue for 'hurt feelings' and alleged mistreatment in prison, and for some of them keep the money from those claims.

"Mr Goff talks about limiting payment of damages to inmates to 'exceptional cases', but what is an exceptional case?

"Every lawyer reckons his client is an exceptional case, so you can see where this will go. The claims will flood in and our courts will become more clogged than they are already, and the only winners will be the lawyers.

"We have been waiting for months for action on this issue, and all the while the compensation claims continue to roll in.

"They should have been stopped weeks ago. National will block, stop and wipe these claims," Mr Ryall says.

ENDS

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