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Victim-focused justice and crime prevention

Victim compensation, gun controls, crime prevention and enough police to answer your 111 call are the best ways to make people in our communities feel safe again, Alliance justice spokesperson Matt Robson said today.

He was launching the Alliance justice policy at a retirement village in Otahuhu, Auckland.

'A National led government that has consistently planned for a 40% increase in the prison population by the year 2010 has clearly lost the plot. Its potential coalition partner, Act wants to go yet further and spend $838 million building more prisons to house more criminals who have committed more crime.

'Despite this, the level of violent crime has risen by 90% since 1990. Of 50,000 burglaries reported last year, fewer than 10% were solved. These policies patently don't work.

'Elderly New Zealanders are feeling particularly vulnerable these days. We need justice policies that make them feel safe, which means we need policies that prevent crime, and add security and peace of mind.

'While National and Act try to out-bid each other over who can be the toughest after a crime has been committed, they go very quiet when you ask them what they're going to do to stop a crime happening in the first place.

'New Zealanders deserve better. The Alliance is committed to crime prevention and justice policies that bring down the rates of crime.

'We want to take guns away from those committing crime. There have been some horrendous shooting tragedies recently. New Zealanders are more aware than ever of the need to amend gun legislation.

'The Alliance will implement the Thorp report and move to register gun owners as well as guns in a national register. We will ban all civilian use of military style semi-automatic rifles and pump action shotguns.

'Families of the criminally mentally ill cry out for help and don't get it. We want to make sure they get the help they need before a tragic crime is committed.

'The Alliance will spend an extra $90 million over three years re-building our mental health system, which had been allowed to disintegrate with tragic results.

'We are committed to making sure that there are always enough police in each New Zealand community. People need to be reassured that when they dial 111 they're going to get the help they need.

'The Alliance wants to implement policies that do work. The average offender is a young male with poor literacy skills, no job and no education. It is clear that resources have to go in earlier and more intensively into our basic social structure rather than into the prison system when it's too late.

'Recently the Thames Valley Police introduced a conferencing approach in some cases, as an alternative to the traditional court proceedings. The results were very successful. Offenders increased respect for the police, felt more ashamed of their crime, and victims were awarded more restitution under this system.

'We want to learn from the success stories in other countries. Our policy aims to make victims needs central and introduce a victims compensation board. We will also introduce pilot schemes to explore the effectiveness of the conferencing and restorative approach, to run parallel with the present system.

'New Zealanders deserve nothing less than policies that bring down the rates of crime. The present system on its own has failed. It is time for a new government with fresh ideas and a real committed to crime prevention,' said Matt Robson.


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