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Just make some arrests

Simon Power MP National Party Justice Spokesman

2 April 2008

Just make some arrests

In a year when violent crime has increased by 12%, New Zealanders will be dismayed to see that the Government today launched 'specialist task forces' developing 'a whole-of-government approach' followed by 'a cycle of ongoing three-year strategies' overseen by 'an inter-agency Chief Executive group', says National's Justice spokesman, Simon Power.

"National says: make some arrests.

"New Zealanders don't want to hear sort of rubbish, they want action.

"Get the surveillance laws sorted out, rip down some gang fortifications, change the Sentencing Act to make gang membership a factor in sentencing, and strengthen the law that makes it illegal to be a member of a criminal organisation.

"That's what New Zealanders want.

"What we've seen today is the announcement of a new organisation, the Organised and Financial Crime Agency, which has less power than the one it's replacing, the Serious Fraud Office.

"We've also seen the Government split the announcement into bits because it lost its nerve after media today suggested it would be less able than the Serious Fraud Office to exercise certain powers.

"Annette King told Parliament on March 5 that the whole package would be announced at once: 'What the Government has decided to do is to release all the decisions around organised crime -including the Organised Crime Agency, the power that that agency will have, the strategy, and the legislation - at the same time.'

"Can she now say she did not hurriedly re-write today's announcement, which delays for a week further announcements, because of bad media coverage?

"The story of this strategy has been one of delay after delay. In 2004 they said it was 'a priority for 2004', they revived it last year when toddler Jhia Te Tua was killed in May, then they promised it would be ready in 'the last quarter of 2007', and then 'in the not-too-distant future'.

"National is going to monitor this carefully so that the cynicism surrounding Australia's National Crime Agency (NCA), dubbed by police 'Never Catch Anyone', does not apply to the New Zealand model."


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