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Clark must order inquiry into justice system

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

6 December 2007

Clark must order inquiry into justice system

Prime Minister Helen Clark has no option but to order a commission of inquiry into the justice sector, given that the report she instigated is recommending one, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"The Ombudsman found serious mismanagement issues littered throughout the justice sector.

"His solution to sorting out the mess of Labour's eight years was to call for a commission of inquiry 'to investigate not only the operations of the entire criminal justice system, but to put forward explicitly the philosophies and values which should guide its policies and practices in the future'.

"She has no option but to act.

"What he found is most disturbing:

* The sector is suffering from a loss of public and political confidence, and that this is putting the system at 'serious risk.'

* '... an absence of rational decision-making based on any critical examination of the issues ... at the policy development, political and legislative stages and also importantly at the various operational levels'.

* A lack of coherence in the policy direction of criminal justice legislation since 1999.

"After eight years of a Labour Government, things have got worse.

"It is clear from this report that there has been little leadership from Labour on law and order issues, and that the Ombudsman has no confidence in Labour's track record and its ability to lead the sector into the future.

"And given that today in Parliament, 24 hours after the report was tabled, Justice Minister Annette King still did not have a view on it, I'm not confident that will change."

ENDS

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