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Simon says. not much

20 February 2006

Simon says. not much

"Yet again Simon Power is failing the test of leadership on a serious community issue."

---------------------------------

"Yet again Simon Power is failing the test of leadership on a serious community issue."

The comment comes from Justice Minister Mark Burton today as he called on the National party to play a more constructive role in the debate on new more effective ways for offenders to repay their debt to society.

"One of the main reasons the Finnish prison system is so often cited as a positive example is that politicians don't treat it with contempt by looking to score cheap political points," Mark Burton said.

"Simon Power is another National MP who looked promising but has resorted to tired old rhetoric. We've seen this before in defence where Simon Power rolled out his now infamous, where they go, we will follow pronouncement. Well I'm sorry Mr Power, serious issues like this require serious responses.

"Previous National Law and Order spokesperson, Tony Ryall, knew that fresh thinking was needed when he made the following comments in September last year: 'The only certainty about prison is that most prisoners will eventually be released, so we must do more to manage the return of inmates into our community'.

"There are more important issues at stake than political point-scoring, including making sure our communities are safe and that re-offending rates continue to drop," Mark Burton said. "Simon Power and National don't seem to have anything to add to the debate - it's only a matter of time before they resort to their standard mantra and call for an inquiry.

"Our goal, on the other hand, is to address crime with comprehensive government policy that reduces the incidence of crime, helps victims and targets the hardcore criminals that account for the bulk of violent criminal activity.

"This Government has a strong record of action on law and order. The improvements made since 1999 to justice legislation have been unparalleled and have tightened up penalties facing serious offenders and hardened criminals. The result is the lowest crime rate since 1982.

"A range of approaches is needed to address the growing prison population and reduce criminal re-offending. Any new sanctions will be thoroughly evaluated and will complement measures already taken by the Government to ensure that the public is protected from dangerous and violent offenders," Mark Burton said.

ENDS


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