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Government rejects true measure of crime

Government rejects true measure of crime

Stephen Franks
Friday, 26 August 2005
Press Releases - Crime & Justice


Act Justice spokesman Stephen Franks today called on Justice Minister Phil Goff to explain why the Government has kept New Zealand out of the International Crime Victim Survey, the only true internationally comparable measure of crime trends.

"International crime experts recognise the unreliability of reported crime figures. Victim surveys repeated over time are regarded as the best measure of the impact of crime fighting strategies.

"That is why Britain, Australia, Canada, the USA and all the other countries we would normally compare ourselves with participate in the International Crime Victim Survey which is conducted on behalf of nearly 90 countries by the Netherlands government.

"New Zealand used to participate, but chose not to be part of the survey reported in 2001. Instead Mr Goff commissioned his own at a cost of more than $1 million. He admitted in response to my parliamentary questions that we could have made his survey comparable with and part of the international survey at an extra cost of $80,000. He gave no credible explanation for our dropout," Mr Franks said.

"The fifth international survey work was largely done last year, without New Zealand's involvement. The Australian government regards their participation as important: www.aic.gov.au/research/projects/ 008.html

"I am absolutely sure that Labour's reason for staying out is to leave them free to make false claims about the true levels of crime in New Zealand.

"The results of the international survey were a huge wakeup call before the last British elections, when Britons realised that they are at much greater risk of violent crime than US citizens, the British government was forced to promise decisive action: www.economist.com/ displayStory.cfm?StoryID=513031.

"By suppressing true comparisons for New Zealand, Ministers George Hawkins and Mr Goff have been able to persuade a gullible media that crime and justice should not be an election issue in New Zealand," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

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