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Labour’s broken promise No 2: Proceeds of crime

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

30 September 2008

Labour’s broken promise No 2 on law & order:
Gangs’ proceeds of crime

The Labour Government has failed to deliver on its 2005 election promise to hit gangs where it hurts by removing the proceeds of their crimes, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“Labour has promised long but delivered short on yet another promise to attack the gangs.

“At the 2005 election they promised to 'pass into law a civil forfeiture regime to allow gangs to be stripped of the proceeds of crime’, having introduced legislation earlier that year.

“In July 2006, that bill was dumped without being debated and nothing more was heard of it until March 2007 – nearly 18 months after the election – when they introduced the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill.

“But a further 18 months later and that bill is still languishing in Parliament awaiting its second reading, despite an overwhelming majority of parties supporting it.

If passing that new law wasn't a priority, why did Labour say:

• ‘The bill will have an immediate impact on becoming law’, and that ‘millions of dollars a year will be confiscated from gangs’ (Phil Goff, 21 June 2005).
• ‘The NZ Government is committed to progressing this bill through the House and resourcing the implementation of the new regime.’ (Mark Burton, 22 November 2005).
• The bill ‘when passed will be an important tool to combat those who are corrupt and will permit confiscation orders without the need for a criminal conviction.’ (Mark Burton, 22 May 2006).
• ‘This bill is about cutting off the money supply to organised criminals, and I urge the House to advance it as quickly as possible, because the most effective thing we can do is to cut off the money supply to the crooks.’ (Mark Burton, 9 May 2007)

“It’s clear that Labour’s priorities have never been and never will be to make the hard decisions to tackle the gangs.

“Like their promise to stiffen penalties for gang members who break the law, their promise to strip them of the proceeds of their crimes has been put into the too-hard basket.

“They push bills such as the Public Lending Right for NZ Authors Bill through Parliament under urgency but they can’t push through essential legislation like this.

“This is another broken promise by a Government whose softly-softly approach to the gangs has merely encouraged them to thrive.”


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