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ACT will deliver justice to victims

ACT will deliver justice to victims

Wednesday, 15 June 2005 Speeches - Crime & Justice

Rodney Hide Speech to crime petition handover; Parliament House; Wednesday, 15 June 2005; 12pm.

Three months ago ACT MP Kenneth Wang received a letter from Manchao Li who had moved to New Zealand to make a better life for himself and his family.

Manchao wrote that he had been a victim of a home burglary, not once, not twice, but three times in just over one year. After the two burglaries he turned his home into a “war-time fort”. But that didn’t stop the burglars. They bypassed his alarm system and took his imported heavy safe. The third burglary saw Manchao lose $30,000 he’d borrowed to start his own business.

What happened next shocked Manchao, and left him disillusioned about New Zealand’s criminal justice system. The police caught the scumbags the next day. They then released them because they were under 17. The thieves wouldn’t tell the police where the safe and the money were. And so the police couldn’t recover the money. Manchao is still down the $30,000 he had borrowed.

Since December 2004, Manchao has attended eight Family Group Conferences and nine court hearings for this burglary. He says the Family Group Conferences as more like sitting through a neighbourhood dispute, than a crime case. Manchao wrote:

“The thief sits there, relaxed, with a carefree expression…every thief has a social worker and a free lawyer appointed by the government. There is no free lawyer for the victims. As a victim, you can immediately sense that the protected one is the criminal, but not you, the victim!”

Manchao also sent this letter to Prime Minister Helen Clark with a plea, asking for victims to have the same rights as the rights of criminals. Her response? Nothing. It shows how much she cares about victims of crime.

And Manchao is still $30,000 out of pocket with no idea how he will repay the loan. The thieves still have the money. They have learnt a lesson: crime pays.

Crime is as big an issue now as ever. Police are overworked, often catching the same crooks time after time, because the revolving door justice system spits them back onto the streets sometimes quicker than it takes police to secure a conviction. One of the young thugs who burgled Manchao had committed 6 offences just within one month of November last year!

ACT is the toughest party on law and order.

We’ve always had the hardest policies on dealing with criminals.

We’ve always backed longer sentences and an end to parole.

There are other parties that pretend to be tough. They talk tough. They sound tough.

But you’ve got to look closer. Don’t take them at face value. Examine their record.

I’m not going to talk about Labour. We all know they are the softest on crime.

I want to look at National’s record. When in government they passed a gutless victims' rights law. It actually did nothing for the rights of victims at all.

And remember, it was successive National governments who have watered down the length of time offenders must serve. Under the National government automatic parole was used as a way to clear out prisons and save money.

And look at National’s record on violent crime.

In the eight years 1990 until 1998, recorded violent crime jumped by 81% in New Zealand.

It almost makes the 14% jump under Labour since 1999 look good.

Both Labour and National have failed New Zealanders. It’s the victims of crime who have paid the price, not the politicians. Some victims have paid a high price indeed. Many have paid with their lives.

ACT makes no apology for having the toughest policies on crime.

ACT makes no apology for putting the rights of victims, like Manchao, ahead of the rights of criminals.

There’s one thing that voters can be sure about this election. The other parties will talk about getting tough on crime - it’s ACT that will deliver.

ENDS

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