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False claims, empty promises from National

False claims, empty promises from National on law and order

Tony Ryall's bizarre claims that crime is out of control are contradicted by police statistics showing crime has fallen 23 per cent and is at the lowest level since the 1980s says Labour Justice Minister Phil Goff.

"His false claims of more lenient sentencing are utterly contradicted by the longest-ever sentences for serious crimes; inmates serving more of their prison sentences; preventive detention sentences doubling, and prisons bulging at the seams as a higher proportion of criminals are caught and given tough sentences," Mr Goff said.

"National's promise to spend more on policing and law and order also has an empty ring about it given the disclosure in the late 1990s that they intended to cut 540 positions from policing.

"National lacks credibility in continuing to make billions of dollars of promises while promising large tax cuts that could only happen if billions of dollars in spending cuts were made.

"On law and order alone, National's policies have been costed at three quarters of a billion dollars a year on operational spending, and three billion dollars on new prisons.

"Since 1999, Labour has added 1300 new policing positions, taking police numbers for the first time over 10,000. And the police budget has also topped $1 billion for the first time.

"A combination of more resources and more powers given to police has seen crime resolution rates rise from 36 to 45 per cent, the highest rate of resolving crimes since the 1980s.

"As for dealing with drug traffickers, new legislation introduced to parliament last week on proceeds of crime will have a dramatic impact on stripping drug traffickers of the assets secured from crime.

"The legislation will allow assets reasonably believed to be the proceeds of crime to be frozen, and then confiscated by the Court where those assets are proven likely to be derived from crime on the civil law standard of balance of probabilities.

"New laws that have made it a criminal offence to be a member of a gang involved in crime have seen a dramatic increase in prosecutions. New laws giving police stronger powers in the area of electronic surveillance have improved police evidence and intelligence gathering.

"Penalties have been increased with trafficking amphetamine now carrying a potential life sentence.

"Huge increases in funding for Customs, ESR, and police clan lab and intelligence teams have greatly increased the number of successful convictions of drug traffickers.

"Labour has delivered on promises for tougher and more effective law and order policies, while National uses empty promises to disguise their appalling track record in office," Mr Goff said.

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