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Govt Should Have Introduced Law Like Nat Promise

6th October 2008



National has obviously listened to the electorate by promising to change the parole system in line with what most decent kiwis want and expect.

National’s parole policy including changes that would deny known violent offenders parole and make ‘life mean life’ for criminals whose life of violence culminates in murder.

These proposed changes would make the community safer and put an end to the gut-wrenching hearings in front of the parole board for victims of many of the worst violent crimes.

If National becomes government, Sensible Sentencing Trust will work tirelessly to ensure John Key delivers on his parole promises.


The Prime Minister undertook to radically overhaul the parole laws after the appalling murder of Karl Kuchenbecker by parolee, Graham Burton. She said offenders would be made to serve two thirds of their sentence and parole would once again become a privilege, not a right.

This is an undertaking Helen Clark has never delivered on!

Instead, the release of figures showing another dramatic increase in violent crime means Helen Clark now presides over the highest level of violent crime New Zealand has ever recorded.

Last week, the official crime statistics released by her own police department, show violent crime has increased 11% since this time last year.

There were 58,761 violent crimes this year compared to 52,883 last year –an increase of almost 6,000 or over 110 per week.

Those same statistics continue to show a year on year increase in violent crime and no policies of this Government or any other have yet managed to turn that trend around.


In the Prime Minister’s speech announcing the election date, Helen Clark said the election would be fought on trust, vision and proven track record.

So let’s look at that in relation to crime.


The prime minister indicated that all was OK because the crime rate was declining.

Helen Clark and police minister continue to mislead the public by citing overall crime statistics to claim that the crime rate is dropping.

The only significant reduction is in the numbers of minor crimes being reported to police and because of this drop the numbers of total crimes has reduced.

But violent crime is increasing which includes an alarming increase in violence by youth offenders. Not only is violence increasing but so is the ferocity and viciousness of the crimes.

Thus, it is extremely misleading to suggest that crime is dropping.

Recent events and the release of these statistics make it abundantly clear that all is definitely not OK.

The P M also neglected to tell us that serious violent offending by young criminals is increasing – not only in total – but also in ferocity and viciousness.

Can voters trust this government?


The Government claims that sentences have increased under its watch. There is no evidence to substantiate this claim.
The evidence suggests only that there are longer prison sentences relative to more heinous crimes. That is that violent criminals are serving slightly longer sentences only because their crimes are so much more grotesque that judges have imposed longer sentences on them.

This government’s track record indicates a softer line on crime driven by a political ideal that would see less time in jail and more criminals on the streets. There is plenty of evidence to support this:

1. Violent crime has increased by 47% since this Government took office in 1999.
2. This government said home detention would only be given to non-violent offenders. But statistics show that almost ¼ of home detainees are violent (22%) **.
3. This government removed the additional penalty for Home Invasion.
4. This government introduced legislation that instructs Judges to give the LEAST restrictive sentence appropriate.
5. This government amended the Bail Act to make it easier for violent offenders to be bailed while awaiting trial.
6. This government is presiding over another massive increase in violent crime, up 11% since the new Bail Act was introduced.

Can voters trust this government’s Track Record?


The Prime Minister’s stated vision for NZ is a Sentencing Council – supposedly to bring consistency in sentences.

We believe it is not only another new layer of bureaucracy but its real purpose is to dramatically reduce time criminals serve in prison.

Can voters trust this government’s vision to increase community safety?

So, the Prime Minister said the election would be fought on three things; trust, vision and proven track record.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust say based on that there will be a change of Government.


**Dept. of Corrections- Census of Prison Inmates & Home Detainees 2003.

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