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Where is the organised crime agency?

Simon Power MP National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

2 July 2008

Where is the organised crime agency?

The Government failed to produce the Organised and Financial Crime Agency yesterday as promised, says National's Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

"On April 2, Justice Minister Annette King said the agency, which would 'combat serious and financial crime ... will be launched on 1 July this year', but where is it?

"The fact is the legislation is still stuck in select committee, and that's because Labour has been in a muddle for years over responding to organised crime.

"Its approach has been a procession of strategies, reports, working groups, and proposals - all resulting in delays and unfulfilled promises.

* June 2004: The Crime Reduction Strategy Joint Ministers' Group 'agreed that a new Organised Crime Strategy [OCS] is a priority for 2004'. * June 2005: Justice Ministry tries to set up a workshop with agencies involved with gangs to establish a taskforce, but it is canned. * November 2006: Justice Minister Mark Burton promises to review the number of off-license liquor stores. Nothing is done till June 2008. * May 2007: In response to the shooting of Jhia Te Tua, Helen Clark says officials are working on an OCS, which had been due to be completed in about 10 months. * July 2007: Justice Minister Mark Burton says the OCS 'is proposed to be completed in the last quarter of 2007'. It was not released until April 2008. * July 2007: Cabinet signs off on a bill to increase sentences for gangs. Nothing is done until June 2008.

"National wants stiffer laws to deal with gangs and organised crime, but we are extremely concerned about losing the Serious Fraud Office's focus on white-collar crime when the OFCA is established - that's why we voted against the first reading of the bill.

"But that's not what's holding this up. The delay is entirely down to Labour's dithering since its promise of June 2004.

"Labour's record on fighting crime has been abysmal.

* The Crime Reduction Strategy Ministers' Group didn't meet for four years, and the Youth Offending Ministers' Group didn't meet for three years.

* It took three years to establish a taskforce on sexual violence, nine years to introduce community work for taggers, and 14 years for a victims' charter and compensation scheme that Helen Clark pledged in 1994.

"What other promises will Labour fail to deliver on?"


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