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Security & Justice - Keeping Kiwis Safe

Press Release
Security & Justice - Keeping Kiwis Safe
Heather Roy MP
Sunday, September 21 2008

Speech to ACT Law & Order Policy Launch; Howick College, Sandspit Road, Howick; Sunday, September 21 2008.

Stop a Kiwi on the street and ask them what's most important to them; many will talk about their families, old and young.

Like us they will have a deep seated desire to make sure their loved ones are safe, well fed, educated and taken care of when they are sick or hurt.  Many will talk about crime, and how they hope their children never have to experience the horror of war.

Now go and ask a new Kiwi - an immigrant to this country - the same question.  You'll get pretty much the same answers - but with one important difference: with fresh eyes, they will often observe amazement that Kiwis put up with growing insecurity; insecurity they themselves came here to escape.

What do law-abiding Kiwis want?  What should we be able to expect?

I want our precious children to be safe in their homes - but, every five weeks, another small child is seriously abused or murdered.

I want our streets to be safe - we should all be able to move around our communities without fear.

Our recent history is appalling.  Despite Government spin, lower level crime statistics appear better only because people have given up reporting burglaries and the like to the police.  Our violent crime stats continue to rise at an alarming rate.

Sadly, the names of those who have been denied this security are all too familiar to us: the Kahui twins weren't safe in their home; Carla Cardno and Teresa Cormack weren't safe on the streets near their homes; liquor store owner Navtej Singh wasn't safe in his own workplace; Police Sgt Don Wilkinson wasn't safe in the community he was trying to protect.

When security is breached we should be striving for justice.  But justice has been denied to too many, with our parole and sentencing laws changed by this Government to allow more criminals to be released from prison early.

The rights of the perpetrators of crime seem to be of higher priority than the rights of victims.  I'm sure I don't have to remind you of ACC payments made to prisoners injured while escaping from prison, while victims of crime and their families wait and wait and wait to have court cases heard and for justice to be done.

I'm often asked what my greatest achievement as an MP has been.  As an Opposition MP it is difficult to make positive changes to laws being passed through Parliament but, last year, I managed to have six amendments passed by almost the whole Parliament to the Criminal Justice Reform Bill.

The Government was attempting to deny victims of crime the automatic right to be heard by the Parole Board when the perpetrator of their crime came up for early release.  Thankfully, my amendments mean this right has been maintained.

This is what we should be striving for: fairness for those who have suffered a crime; justice when crimes are committed.  But first and foremost Kiwis should have safe homes, safe streets, safe communities.

The first role of government is to provide for the safety and security of its citizens.  You will soon hear how ACT will deal with security and justice issues.

Our forebears didn't fight and die so that we would be too afraid to walk freely on our streets and in our communities.  They fought and died so that their children - your children and my children - could be safe.  If that's what you want too, then Party vote ACT because ACT is the only Party that will continue the fight to keep Kiwis safe.


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