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Collins Comments - 17 August 2006

Collins Comments
Judith Collins Clevedon MP 17 August 2006

Labour will Open Prison Doors in a bid to disguise our shockingly high incarceration rate. In a slap in the face to former Justice Minister, Phil Goff, Helen Clark has decided that we’ll just lock up criminals for shorter sentences and make more of them stay in their own homes. This massive back down on law and order is an admission of failure by the Government. Why should anyone be surprised? If Labour refuses to recognise personal responsibility as underpinning civil society, then why should criminals be expected to exercise any?

The Government has finally realised the 2002 law change allowing parole after only a third of a sentence, was untenable. Now prisoners will have to complete two-thirds of their sentence before gaining parole eligibility, (as they did under National) as opposed to the current one-third given to most prisoners who serve two or more years. However in a catch-22 this change has come at a price with serious criminals serving shorter sentences of six months or less.
Offenders should be given appropriate sentences based on the severity of their crime and their criminal records, and not because there will be more prisoners ineligible for parole occupying prison space.

Suggestions have been made by the Government about transferring prisoners to home detention, and electric tagging surveillance. Some violent offenders are even issued home detention “punishments”. This will only rise with the Prime Minister’s new plans for softer sentences.

In an attack on judges who are giving out tough sentences, Miss Clark wants to establish an independent sentencing council to set guidelines for judges. You can be certain that any such council will be full of namby pamby Lefties who blame “society” rather than criminals, for crime. It seems Miss Clark is trying to rid responsibility for consequences of sentence changes. Somehow I don’t think victims of crime will feel more confident and secure knowing their offenders are back home.

Personal responsibility is certainly missing in Government. When thinking of personal responsibility we don’t have to look too far to discover just why most political parties don’t want a bar of it. The ability of Labour, Act, NZ First and the Greens to suddenly lose all sense of personal responsibility when it comes to election expenses beggars belief. If they misused taxpayers money as the Auditor-General says, then they should pay it back. If taxpayers don’t pay their taxes on time, they get penalised. Labour and its free spending cohorts get to keep the money and blame the Auditor-General for doing his job.

The Pylon Saga Continues with 3M’s proposal to save $400 million using high-tech conductors on the existing pylons to give high-performance energy transmission seeming to have fallen on deaf ears. The proposal certainly appears to tackle the issue of upgrading the grid, with less environmental impact and cost. The Government seems less interested in solutions and more intent on keeping the media focused on gigantic pylons so that the issue of exactly where the new electricity generation would come from does not get asked. In other words, the pylons serve as a useful distraction for the government and takes the focus off generation.

Last Sunday, I joined Don Brash, Wayne Mapp, new MPs Allan Peachy and Nicky Wagner at the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme Auckland Regional Trade Fair. It was awe inspiring to see the inventions of Secondary School Students, their marketing and selling skills at work. Congratulations to all concerned. For rural readers, I was most impressed by solar powered letter box attachments produced by Pukekohe High School. They seemed like a great idea for hard-to-find-in- the-dark rural properties.


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