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Govt proposal on young offenders reckless

Anne Tolley MP National Party Associate Welfare (CYF) Spokeswoman
Simon Power MP National Party Justice Spokesman

26 November 2007

Govt proposal on young offenders reckless

The Government must ditch its preposterous proposal to raise the minimum age for offenders to be dealt with in adult courts from age 17 to 18, say National's Associate Welfare (CYF) spokeswoman, Anne Tolley and Justice spokesman, Simon Power.

"What kind of Government would allow 17-year-olds to escape responsibility for their criminal actions?

"In addition, the youth justice system will not be able to cope with an influx of older offenders without huge investment in new facilities.

"It is already at peak capacity. The overflow of young offenders are now being held in prison cells, and the taxpayer is having to fund expensive security guards to watch over youths in hotel rooms.

"A Ministry of Justice report focusing solely on youth crime reveals that teenage violent crime shot up by 39% between 1995 and 2006. Violent offences increased from 2,690 to 3,743 in 2006.

"Statistics also show that 17 to 19-year olds are responsible for nearly a quarter of property crime.

"It beggars belief that the Labour Government is willing to put greater stress on the system as well as allow teenage criminals to abrogate their responsibilities for the sake of bringing New Zealand into line with a United Nations convention.

"This one-size-fits-all approach is short-sighted and ridiculous. The proposal must not be allowed to proceed."

ENDS

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