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News Worthy by Richard Worth

News Worthy by Richard Worth

17 October 2008 – No. 267

There should be no parole for worst repeat violent offenders
Parole is not a right for prisoners; it’s a privilege – a privilege that must be earned. Any decision to grant parole to an offender should put the public’s right to safety first. Parole should be granted only to prisoners who have demonstrated that their behaviour has changed.

National will deny parole for the worst repeat violent offenders. These offenders have shown contempt for the safety of others by committing serious acts of violence, and then offending again after being released.

Under National, the worst repeat violent offenders will be in prison for the full duration of their term.

National’s policy of no parole will apply to repeat violent criminals who have been given determinate (or fixed sentences) of five or more years.  It will also apply to offenders who commit murder and have previously been sentenced to five years or more for a serious violent offence.

Life is the presumptive sentence for murder, but seldom does it actually result in a full life sentence served in prison.

Currently, when a life sentence is handed down for murder, the court imposes a minimum non-parole period – the period of the sentence that the offender must serve in prison – of 10 years or more.  In 2006, the average minimum non-parole period was 14.3 years.

After they have completed the minimum non-parole period, most murderers are, at some stage, let out of prison on parole.  Because a life sentence is indeterminate (no fixed end point) they are then on parole for the rest of their lives.  They can be recalled to prison at any stage.

Under National’s policy, murderers will not be eligible for parole if they have previously committed a violent offence and were sentenced to prison for five or more years.  For these murderers, a life sentence will mean life in prison.  They will serve their full sentence – the rest of their lives – behind bars.

Murderers Who Would be in Prison for Life under Our Policy
An analysis of 144 offenders convicted of murder since 2002 and given life sentences suggests that 10 had committed previous violent offences attracting a sentence of five years or more.  If National’s policy of no parole for the worst repeat violent offenders had been law at the time they committed murder, these 10 would be in prison for the rest of their lives:

·         George Baker (murdered Liam Ashley).

·         William Duane Bell (Panmure RSA killer).

·         Graeme Burton.

·         Peter Carrington (murdered a 73 year old woman, previously raped an 81 year old).

·         Michael Curran (murdered a two-year-old girl while on bail for manslaughter).

·         Antonie Dixon.

·         William Holtz (murdered a dairy owner while on parole, previous convictions for aggravated robberies).

·         Emani Seu (murdered fellow inmate, previous convictions for rape of under-age girls).

·         Timothy Taylor (murdered Lisa Blakie, previous convictions for rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery). 

·         Michael Wallace (murdered Birgit Brauer, previous convictions for rape, armed robbery).

Further details of this policy can be found at http://www.national.org.nz/Article.aspx?ArticleID=28755

More foolishness – this time on hot water cylinders
Regulations limiting the size of home hot water cylinders are another unnecessary and unworkable interference in people’s lives.

The new regulations amend the Building Code and limit the size of an electric hot water cylinder to 180 litres for smaller homes and 315 litres for larger homes.  The new regulations come into effect on 1 February for new or refurbished homes as part of the Labour Government’s home energy efficiency strategy.

This is simply a blunt rule that will see households run out of hot water for bathing and showering.  Larger families will be particularly discriminated against.

Industry advice is that the new limit on hot water cylinder size will most adversely affect people in the South Island, where the recommended installation is 250 litres, but will now be limited to 180 litres.

The industry is also concerned that smaller cylinders limit future conversions to solar systems which require greater storage capacity to work most effectively and allow for cloudy days.

What next?


Political Quote of the Week
“No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut” Channing Pollock - American playwright, critic and writer of film scenarios (1880-1946)

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