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Minister’s move simply a hunt for headlines

Justice Spokesperson
9 November 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Minister’s move simply a hunt for headlines

Labour is questioning whether Justice Minister Judith Collins is serious about trying to combat domestic violence, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

“Problems with the enforcement of existing protection orders, and a lack of consultation with key groups over a proposed new one, have raised questions about the Minister’s true intentions,” Charles Chauvel said.

Yesterday afternoon, Judith Collins announced that she would propose an amendment to the Harassment Act to create a new type of restraining order to prevent offenders from living near their victims.

“This morning, it was confirmed that there had been little consultation about the proposal, and warnings that it could create, rather than close, existing loopholes in the law.

"There is a major problem at the moment with enforcing existing tools to protect people from violence and harassment. In response to questions from me earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice revealed that 8902 people were convicted of breaching protection orders between
2007 and 2010.

"But Judith Collins is in denial about the problem. In March, I asked her a question in Parliament about the widespread breach of protection orders and her response was: "I have had a look at the breaching rates on them and, actually, they are not anywhere near what anyone else would expect.

"Now, instead of taking steps to deal with the existing problem, which is the proper enforcement of the current law, Judith Collins - with little or no prior stakeholder consultation - has announced a new type of order.

"Labour supports any meaningful step that makes people at risk of violence safer. Judith Collins is just chasing headlines,” Charles Chauvel says.


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